"The request came after stewards left their posts following a wage dispute with their employer, Stallion Security Consortium Pty."

The private e.tv news channel said the workers had decided to stage their walk-out around two and half hours before the kick-off.

A local government official said those who had gone on strike included guards who were supposed to be checking fans with metal detectors.

The 2010 Organising Committee said a meeting was under way to resolve the pay dispute.

Bus strike

Also on Monday, the manager of Johannesburg's new rapid bus service said a drivers' strike after a match had affected hundreds of fans.

Blog: Haru Mutasa

To strike or not to strike during the World Cup

Up to 1,000 fans who should have been bused from Soccer City stadium after the Netherlands-Denmark game were instead put on trains.

Drivers were protesting because they believe their shifts were changed without proper notice.

Police also took over security at matches in Durban, where police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at hundreds of workers who staged a protest after Sunday's match between Australia and Germany.

The workers said they were being paid only a fraction of what they had been promised.

One of them said their employer paid 150 rand, or less than $20, for the day's work, when their contract stipulated almost three times that amount.

Riot police chased the workers, who had earlier been responsible for the security of 62,660 fans, from the new Moses Mabhida stadium.

"We were mounting a peaceful protest because they were not paying us what we expected and we were surprised that the police started charging at us," Sydney Nzoli, one of the workers, said.

"They fired teargas at us."

At least one woman was injured when she was hit by a rubber bullet, a witness told Reuters news agency.

At least two workers were detained by police, one of them after he handed over a pistol.

Wealth disparities

The events highlight the frustrations of South Africa's poor who feel they are not benefiting from Africa’s first-ever world cup.

South Africa has some of the biggest wealth disparities in the world.

Some workers' unions have threatened to bring the country to a standstill during the month-long football tournament if their demands are not met.

Ttemba Maseko, a government spokesperson, said "People will and must be allowed to raise their issues but we will not tolerate anybody either threatening and disrupting the World Cup.

"It's not going to happen and I can assure you let alone our security services, ordinary South Africans will not allow anyone to spoil this party."