Disgruntled Durban World Cup guards paid off

DURBAN - About two thousand disgruntled security guards, watched closely by riot police, handed in their uniforms and received their pay outside the Durban stadium on Tuesday, two days after violent scenes at the World Cup venue.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of protesting guards, unhappy at their pay, after Germany's victory over Australia at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Sunday.

On Tuesday police said they were taking over security at Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg because of the dispute between the guards and their employers, a local security firm. The arrangement would include Tuesday night's match between Brazil and North Korea at Ellis Park.

Security was also handed to police at press facilities in Johannesburg housing the thousands of journalists covering the World Cup, which have been lax up to now.

Police chief Bheki Cele said the arrangements would not interfere with the force's overall task of protecting teams and fans during the tournament although it is bound to divert a few thousand officers.

Under World Cup arrangements, security inside stadium perimeters was originally contracted to local firms by the organising committee, which has expressed anger at the industrial action by the guards.

In Durban on Tuesday, security staff were marshalled by riot police as they queued up to hand in their World Cup accreditations and orange jackets, receiving small brown envelopes containing a day's pay in return.

One man waved the envelope of 205 rand ($28) he had received from the Stallion Security Consortium and shouted "peanuts, peanuts, peanuts".

"They just told us that our jobs have been taken by the police," said a female security guard, Zanele Mcineka.

"We signed a contract for three months. I want to get a straight answer about whether our jobs are still here."

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