Anti-privatisation in South Africa
Country: South Africa | Partner: Anti-Privatisation Forum
- To resist the privatisation of services and address the needs of the urban poor
- To raise awareness of the negative impact of privatisation on the poor within South Africa and abroad
- To bring together poor communities to organise joint activities and demand changes in policy and practice
- Successfully lobbied the government to provide a quota of free water and electricity to the poor
- Other successful campaigns have resulted in increased financial support for the development of infrastructure, improvements in service provision, a moratorium on mass electricity cut-offs and the scaling back of evictions in numerous poor communities
- APF has helped prevent numerous evictions. For example 5,000 people were evicted from their homes in 2012 , but following a case in the Constitutional Court all their homes are going to be upgraded and the residents are going to be returned to them
- Unemployment in South Africa is estimated at a staggering 40%
- South Africa is the second most unequal country in the world
- Over 30% of South Africans do not have access to electricity whilst 39% do not have access to water
- Cost-recovery policies for public services provision have had devastating consequences for poor people, who can no longer afford to pay for them, even if the service infrastructure reaches them
Working with the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), War on Want aims to support and strengthen new and emerging community organisations that are mobilising to prevent the negative impacts of privatisation of public services on the poor.
The privatisation and commoditisation of basic services in South Africa (water, electricity, healthcare, housing and education) is resulting in reduced access to these services and increasing impoverishment for South Africa's poorest communities. It is compounding poverty and inequality in a country already ranked as the second most unequal in the world.
The constitution adopted by the South African government in 1996 is one of the most progressive in the world. It states that "everyone has the right to ... adequate housing ... healthcare ... food and water ... [and] to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being".
However, despite constitutional pledges, the legacy of apartheid persists: it is estimated that 30% of South Africans do not have basic access to electricity and 39% to water.
Privatisation of water and electricity has led to huge price rises in these services in recent years, and services are often cut off completely.
APF is a broadbased coalition of community organisations that have come together to strengthen the ability of poor communities to organise and demand their rights for basic services. War on Want supports APF to work with community organisations fighting privatisation processes on a local and national level that negatively impact on the poor.
|War on Want gratefully acknowledges funding for this partner from Comic Relief.|