[DEBATE] : FW: APF Mass March 25 Feb - Joburg
akmayher at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 23 10:22:05 GMT 2006
Tuesday 21st February 2006
APF TO HOLD MASS MARCH FOR POPULAR, DEMOCRATIC LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND DELIVERY
OF QUALITY, PUBLIC SERVICES TO POOR COMMUNITIES
DATE: SATURDAY 25TH FEBRUARY
STARTING POINT: AUCKLAND HOUSE (CNR BICCARD & SMIT STREETS BRAAMFONTEIN)
(MARCH WILL PROCEED TO GAUTENG LEGISLATURE, JOHANNESBURG WATER AND WILL END
WITH A RALLY IN JOUBERT PARK)
APF and community members from more than 20 poor communities in Gauteng will
be marching this Saturday (25th February) - a few days before the holding
of South Africas third local government elections - for popular, democratic
local government and for the delivery of quality, public services. The
march will target the seat of legislative power in Gauteng the Provincial
Legislature as well as the headquarters of Johannesburg Water.
Why are we marching and struggling?
At local government level we experience firsthand the arrogance, corruption,
greed and non-delivery of the (mostly) ANC-dominated local government. We
also experience the lack of accountability of those who supposedly represent
and lead our communities. We have seen that local government delivers to
those who are rich and well-connected while the basic needs of the poor
majority continue to be ignored. This represents class-based delivery,
delivery for the rich.
The APF understands that in present-day South Africa, we live under a
capitalist system. Delivery of basic services to the poor majority only
happens after the capitalists have made their profits. In Johannesburg, for
instance, the ANC local government has privatized the provision of basic
services. They are now wanting to borrow money from foreign banks to finance
the installing of pre-paid water meters. The APF and other organisations
have resisted the pre-paid water meters because they are an attack on the
working class and poor. People within the Johannesburg Inner City have also
been subjected to inhumane evictions by the Red Ants. These Inner-City
evictions are an attempt by the ANC-controlled local government to chase out
the working class and poor and make it a place for the rich. Also the
Erkhuleni local government wants to privatise electricity through the
formation of Regional Electricity Distributors (REDS) putting the provision
of electricity in the hands of the capitalists.
We have also seen that the communities are excluded from directing and
controlling local government. The working class and poor are left out of the
so-called democracy. We are being reduced to acting as voting fodder every
few years. Within this so-called democracy the Mayors are appointed by Thabo
Mbeki. Decisions on allocations and the setting of budgets of local
government are being taken by a select few without any participation from
the people themselves.
Over the last several years the APF aligned communities and other poor
communities across the country( in Khutsong, Free State, Eastern Cape,
Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal) have protested and struggled against local
governments. For the APF, the role of local government can never be to
replace those struggles simply by electing and putting better people into
office/government. But, what we can, and must, do is to force local
government through whatever means we may choose,( including elections) to
become pro-working class and pro-poor. For this to happen means we must
continue our struggles and build strong mass organisations. This is the only
What are we demanding ?
We want a local government that is close to the people. We want democracy
by, and of, the people. This means real participation and not simply
representation (through elections and institutions). We want to make sure
that local government institutions and elected representatives are
accountable to those in whose name they govern.
For this to become possible we demand:
The right to recall local government representatives who are not carrying
out the mandate of the people. This will be done through a peoples
referendum in the relevant constituencies.
The government must do away with its policies of privatisation,
corporatisation and outsourcing of water and sanitation utilities,
management and delivery.
Government needs to ensure that all water/sanitation service utilities (such
as Johannesburg Water) are publicly owned and managed on a not-for-profit
The cutting-off of water supplies to households must be abolished.
The prepaid meter programme must be immediately stopped and all households
must be provided with a full-credit meter that allows enough water to meet
human needs and hygiene.
Institutions such as public schools, community halls, public clinics, public
swimming pools and public recreational must get free water.
There must be free, quality and equitable public education provided for all,
from pre-school to the tertiary level as well as for adult basic education.
All user fees must be immediately scrapped.
An end to all cut-offs and the banning of pre-paid meters
A halt to the criminalisation of community members who are forced to
reconnect their electricity in order to receive a service.
Adequate amounts of free electricity to meet our needs.
A well-funded public works programme based on plans developed by working
class constituencies and the workers that build them, that provide sustained
employment on decent wages. Experience should not prevent anyone from
getting a job.
No outsourcing to the private sector.
All and any contracts made by councils should only be with companies
employing a unionised workforce.
End employment of casual labour and labour broking in councils, and ensure
expanded and useful permanent work where the working class needs services.
Government must provide enough housing on a mass scale, free and on a
subsidised rental basis.
Housing for those living in squatter camps and overcrowded conditions must
To make this possible:· Expropriate the infrastructure and means to build
homes (the large cement, brick and construction companies, etc); Expropriate
land to meet this need. End the private ownership of land.
Who is going to pay for these demands ?
We are saying that the working class produces enough wealth for all its
needs to be met. The problem is that this wealth is taken by the rich. We
are therefore demanding that :
National government must increase the amount of money it provides to local
government. These transfers need to be democratically decided.
Set maximum salary levels for city managers, mayors, councillors and senior
local government officials.
Through rising block tariffs ensure that high users of services like water,
waste and electricity pay more so that the extra money can be used to
cross-subsidise those who cannot afford to pay.
Tax the rich and halt and reverse lower corporate taxes. Increase corporate
taxes and end VAT on all basic goods and services.
Increase tax on profits and fat-cat salaries.
Tax company and individual money that is invested overseas.
Scrap apartheid debts.
Pass laws that force pension funds to invest in public and productive use
under a democratically decided plan (prescribed assets).
SUPPORT THE MARCH! JOIN THE STRUGGLE!
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION/COMMENT CONTACT:
APF Office on (011) 339-4121 or John Appolis on 073 408-2674
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