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South Africa accused of 'cleansing' impoverished residents in WC beautification drive

Posted By: Staff

Cape Town, June 11(ANI): Several 'impoverished' South Africans living in Cape Town claim that local authorities have forcibly moved them out of the city to present a good image of the nation during the World Cup, which begins today.

They said that the Jacob Zuma-Government has misplaced its priorities, and believe that their lives would not change despite South Africa hosting the world's most-watched sporting event.

Natasha Flores, one of the residents, said that she was driven out of her home near a new 450 million dollar stadium in one of Cape Town's busiest tourist areas.

Another resident, Shirley Fisher, claimed that she was evicted from a hostel near a stadium where soccer's biggest stars train.

Both ended up in Blikkiesdorp, a settlement of iron shacks ringed by a concrete fence, home to hundreds of evicted families.

"Why can't they take the money they spent on the stadiums and use it to build houses, not the dollhouses we now live in, but proper houses?" The Washington Post quoted Margaret Bennet, who lives with eight relatives in one of the shacks, as saying.

"The World Cup may be important for the high-powered people, but it means nothing for us on the streets," she added.

Cape Town officials, however, describe Blikkiesdorp as "a temporary relocation area" until proper housing can be built.

"We acknowledge that Blikkiesdorp is not a perfect solution, but it is what we can do with the existing resources," said Kylie Hatton, a city council spokeswoman.

She also denied that people had been "deliberately cleansed" from a neighborhood because of the World Cup. (ANI)

Story first published: Friday, June 11, 2010, 11:46 [IST]
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