Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Episode 5: Construction workers lose out as 2010 ticket incentive bungled

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Construction workers lose out as 2010 ticket incentive bungled

by Colleen Dardagan

HUNDREDS of construction workers who helped build Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium stand to lose out on their promised free World Cup match tickets as Fifa's local organising committee has bungled the allocations.

Last year, President Jacob Zuma and Fifa president Sepp Blatter promised the workers two free tickets for games in the World Cup stadiums they helped to build. To date, construction companies have yet to receive all the treasured passes - while others, who were not eligible, have received ticket vouchers. They were to redeem the vouchers at ticketing centres by yesterday.

Cindyanne May, of Group Five - the principal contractor on the Moses Mabhida construction site - said she had sent the names of more than 5,000 construction workers to the committee, but the ticket allocation process had been a "mess".

"We were asked to send a comprehensive list of everyone who had worked on the stadium for three months or longer to the local organising commitee in October last year, which we did. We went through our entire access control list and sent it off to our client (the eThekwini municipality).

"They confirmed the list and sent it to the committee in January... We received notification from the committee earlier this month that the letters were ready and that a decision had been taken not to allocate tickets to senior directors, managers or engineers... the tickets, they said, were only for hourly workers. We received the vouchers and checked them against our master list. There aren't vouchers for everybody. We cannot work out how they did the allocation, as there is no consistency. Over 600 workers (who should have received tickets) have not received vouchers and some senior directors and managers who shouldn't have received tickets, have been allocated two tickets each."

May said the company was now receiving abusive phone calls from irate workers and sub-contractors whose expectations had been raised. "Twice we have asked for an explanation from the committee, but we haven't had any response."

While local organising committee spokesman Rich Mkhondo failed to respond to e-mailed questions sent by The Mercury, sub-contractors were fuming.

Warren Butler, the managing director of Rebcon Engineering, said he had received two tickets for himself, while only some of his employees had been allocated tickets.

"It just seems so haphazard. Workers on that stadium site sweated blood and tears, they deserve these tickets," he said.

Rasheed Amod, of Afripile, said none of 60 staff who had worked on the stadium had received tickets. The same applied to a host of other sub-contractors contacted by The Mercury. Shannon King, who is in charge of distributing the vouchers at Group Five, said some of the contracting companies appeared on the beneficiaries' list and some did not.

A version of this article by Colleen Dardagan originally appeared in The Mercury