Press Release: Coalition Against Water Privitisation
Tuesday 6th November 2007
INNER CITY JOHANNESBURG RESIDENTS TO MARCH ON JOHANNESBURG WATER THIS THURSDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER FROM 09H00 (MARCH BEGINS AT LIBRARY GARDENS)
THE COALITION AGAINST WATER PRIVATISATION (CAWP) SUPPORTS THE STRUGGLE OF INNER-CITY RESIDENTS AGAINST WATER CUT-OFFS AND FOR QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO WATER
The Inner City Resource Centre (a community organisation of inner-city residents in Johannesburg) will be marching to the Johannesburg Water (JW) offices in central Johannesburg on Thursday 8th November 2007 from 09h00 (starting point at Library Gardens). This march is a follow-up to a memorandum submitted to JW in August this year, in which inner-city residents demanded an immediate end to all water cut-offs, the provision of the free ‘lifeline’ amount of 6kl of water per month, per household and the lowering of unaffordable water tariffs.
Since the submission of that memorandum, there has been no official response from JW. Instead, JW has continued to illegally cut-off the water supply of many inner-city residents, forcing them to live in physically intolerable and extremely unhealthy conditions. In direct violation of the constitutional and human right to water, JW has left many inner-city residents in Johannesburg without access to water for long periods of time.
JW has rationalised this barbaric and illegal practice on the basis that residents have defaulted on payments, ignoring the fact that the vast majority of inner-city residents are poor and can therefore simply not afford to pay the ridiculously high water tariffs. Additionally, JW refuses to acknowledge the fact that most of these residents are not receiving their free ‘lifeline’ amount of 6kl per month, per household. Once again, the poor are being punished simply because they are poor, while rich suburbanites in Johannesburg not only receive the free ‘lifeline’ amount but are able to use as much water as they please because they can afford to do so. To make matters even worse, inner-city residents are living under the constant threat of forced removal, as the City Of Johannesburg (COJ) moves arrogantly ahead with its grandiose plans to make Johannesburg a “ World Class City” by excluding the poor.
The Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP) has been playing a major role in the struggle for affordable and equitable access to water in many poor communities in Gauteng Province and elsewhere. The struggle of inner-city residents is now part of that struggle. The march on Thursday is but one of many community actions that will be supported by CAWP as it moves towards the launch of the water rights case (with JW, COJ and the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry as the respondents) in the Johannesburg High Court from 3-5 December.
WATER IS A RIGHT, NOT A PRIVILEGE!!!