A group of about 30 Afcon volunteers went on strike hours before the quarterfinal match between Cape Verde Islands and Ghana in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Police officers looked on as they toyi-toyed and sang, across the road from the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, where the match was scheduled to start at 5pm.
They claim the Confederation of African Football (Caf) had promised to pay the mostly unemployed young men and women R1000 after their five-day training.
“They didn’t give us the money for the training. We started our training on the 5th of January and ended on the 16th,” Themba Tshayingwe said.
Caf officials were not available for comment.
“They [CAF] promised us R1000 at the training,” Tshayingwe continued.
“They said for the period of five days we would be paid R200 per day. Now they say they don’t want to pay us. They then said they are not responsible for paying us. So who then is responsible?”
He said around 500 volunteers had not received their money, and many of them had used loan sharks to get to the stadium.
“Bear in mind we are using our own bus fare here. Some of us went to loan sharks for the bus fare.”
Another volunteer, Wonder Mkokeli, said they would not work until they had been paid.
“Up until our issues are resolved we are not going to work today. That’s the decision we told these volunteers.”
Mkokeli said they had asked the mayor to intervene.
“We’ve written several letters to the mayor asking him to intervene because this issue started a long time ago.
“We don’t have money, we are unemployed. We want to be here, we want to make this tournament a success, but now they don’t keep their promises.”