Cholera outbreaks in South Africa are due to the ANC-led state's failure to address the inequalities of apartheid. In fact, both national and local governments in South Africa have promoted the idea that water should be sold as a commodity. Consequently, millions of people, even where the infrastructure exists, don't have access to clean water because they can't afford the high prices charged for it. Over 40% of South Africans are unemployed and simply don't have the money to pay for clean water. Unfortunately, there is little hope that free water for all will be rolled out across the country. All of the parties involved in the upcoming election, including the ANC,26 COPE,27 and the DA,28 remain committed to neo-liberalism and the commercialization of services -- in other words, committed to selling water as a commodity and cutting off people's water if they don't pay for it. This, in turn, is going to force people to reuse the water they do manage to get or access water from other sources such as streams. Therefore, cholera is set to break out again and again in South Africa. Only by organizing themselves and winning free water for all through their own actions can people put an end to this disease of privatization. Water is essential for life -- it mustn't be turned into a commodity to be sold and bought.
Monday, February 23, 2009
The disease of privatization
Shawn Hattingh on Cholera in South Africa: