[DEBATE] : South Africa's Brave New World: An appreciation (politicsweb, 5 April)
gus.gosling at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 20:36:02 BST 2009
I've no idea on what position the HSF took during the period of Bill
Johnson's tenure as director (anybody know?); from your *Elite Transition*
book though it seems that the ANC of the time was determined to be more
Catholic than the Pope. Has there been any genuine change for the better in
govt water policy since Asmal? (The question presupposes that some coherent
policy exists. Dubious)
2009/4/8 Patrick Bond <pbond at mail.ngo.za>
> Thank goodness he's getting better! We need his ideas and contacts in the
> Gus Gosling wrote:
>> It is no irony, however, that he provides an explanation even for this. In
>> chapter with the sub-heading "Developmental failures: Water and the IDT",
>> chronicles the well- predicted "cynical disaster" brought about the
>> centralising ideology
> Must raise this issue with Bill directly. I worked briefly as an advisor to
> Asmal on his 1998 budget. That was when he was wrecking bantustan dorpies by
> decentralising to them all their responsibilities for water provision even
> though they couldn't afford it; DWAF earlier had these responsibilities
> during apartheid.
> Asmal was also rejecting the RDP Free Basic Water mandate forcefully; one
> reason was that he was advised by the World Bank to bring in private sector
> providers, and these providers would have a major disincentive to invest if
> they were forced to give water free.
> The other major decentralisation thrust was on sanitation, which Asmal set
> up on a co-payment basis and hence got very little uptake.
> But the most important decentralising ideology of Asmal's was evident in
> the 1994 White Paper which mandated 100% cost recovery for
> operations/maintenance on water projects, which proved to be a total
> So I agree that Asmal's policies led directly to the cholera outbreaks
> (especially the August 2000 Ngwelezane disconnections). But not because of
> centralising ideology, rather because of neoliberalism.
> Asmal's defense on some of these points would be that rings were run 'round
> him by very clever bureaucrats who let him talk left while they turned the
> taps right (i.e., off). Also, he could correctly argue that the 1998
> economic crisis forced a huge national budget cut, so that a great many
> water schemes begun that year were simply defunded partway through. This was
> particularly acute in KZN, though I can't say for sure whether
> water/sanitation programmes were cut in the vicinity of Margate.
> Gus, I don't recall whether the Suzman Foundation was active in pressing
> Trevor Manuel to cut the budget deficit during comrade Bill's time as its
> director, e.g. by endorsing GEAR? I would hope not; such would be a very
> ironic and naughty link for someone to draw, in search of a genuine cause
> and effect.
> of Professor Kader Asmal at the Ministry of Water
>> Affairs and Forestry. As he writes, "by 2000 there were major outbreaks of
>> cholera, directly traceable to failures in sanitation and water supply.
>> outbreaks had never occurred under apartheid." (pp.105-105)
> Of course there were outbreaks of disease associated with water/sanitation
> during apartheid.
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