[DEBATE] : Sthn AFr Soc Forum - Water Privatisation comes under attack
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Wed Oct 18 07:19:51 BST 2006
Water Privatisation comes under attack, 2006-10-14
By Mutuna Chanda, Gabriel Maliwa and Vitima Ndovi
Orange Farm, a South African community has stood forthright against the
privatisation of water services, sabotaging the prepaid water meters and
getting free water instead.
This, according to forum delegates is one of the models that the
Southern African community could possibly pick and implement in their
respective countries to create a people friendly region.
In the debt and trade cluster of the ongoing southern Africa social
forum in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, South Africa’s Gladys Mokolo told of
a practice to stop the pre-paid system of access to water that South
Africans in her area have taken.
“We have destroyed the prepaid water meters and are getting free water
and this is what is happening in Orange farm,” she said. “When the
pre-paid water system was in effect one man and two of his children who
had moved to Orange farm in South Africa from Zimbabwe burnt to ashes in
their house because people in the neighbourhood were not ready to
sacrifice their water to put out the fire”.
And Zambia’s Priscilla Mpundu said because of the privatisation policies
people’s rights are being abused.
“How can you live without water because you can’t afford it, when water
is a right?” she asked.
She said resulting from the privatisation of even energy services,
people in urban areas are living without electricity and have instead
resorted to cutting trees for use as an energy source.
Reverend Solomon Mabuza of Ujamaa Centre at the University of Kwazulu
Natal complained of how heavily the neo liberal policies that are
bringing paying for services are weighing on people.
He said: “in the past our leaders used to tell us not to pay for these
services because they were fighting against apartheid but now we have to
pay for them”.
“In the suburbs then you could even keep seven dogs but now you can’t
afford it because you have to licence the dogs” he added.
Enddy Ziyera a Zimbabwean said most people in Zimbabwe are facing
problems of water borne diseases because they cannot afford to pay high
bills of water and this has negative impact for the both rural and urban
Privatisation, says Ziyera, has created the gap between the poor and the
rich in Zimbabwe and urged southern Africa members through the SASF to
come up with strategies on how to lobby leaders to stop privatisation of
water and all other entities in Africa.
Nedi Kamba, a Malawian young man feels privatization in Malawi has had
very negative impact to Malawian because only a few people have
benefited from it hence creating a gap between the poor and the rich.
“Water should not be privatised, water is our basic need there is no
logic for leaders in the region to privatise the basic need for well
being of human beings,” he concluded.
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