Policy


I don’t really know what to say. Or, I do have lots to say but a lot of it has already been said. I feel at the same time a part of this and very much outside of it. I am outside because of my whiteness. Why is it, I have to ask, that people are attacking their own neighbours and not coming into the suburbs and breaking down our gates and demanding that they get the same priveleges that whites in South Africa still enjoy? Why can I still drive my car and buy my groceries and enjoy my hot water and electricity and not fear at all that any day now a crowd of poor people will be marching down the main road of my nice little suburb? Why are poor people killing other poor people, blaming other poor people, and not pointing at the gated communities and golf estates and saying “There, there are the people who have the jobs and the money and the nice soft beds”? I’m not suggesting that people should start marching through the suburbs. I’m not suggesting that the violence should be perpetuated at all. I’m just wondering why it is that foreigners are the target of all this frustration and rage and not rich people or white people or really anyone driving past in their big SUV loaded up with groceries from Woolworths. If I come up with any clever answers to this I’ll let you know.

In a landmark case, Judge Tsoka has declared pre-paid water meters unconstitutional, and ordered the City of Johannesburg and Johannesburg Water to up the supply of free water in the community of Phiri to 50 litres per person per day.

I’m not very up-to-date on water issues in SA, but I know that 50 litres was the minimum originally proposed by civil society groups and that government came in at a token six kilolitres per household. Judge Tsoka’s judgement reopens this discussion, and is most welcome. As for his judgement regarding the pre-paid meters – hallelujah! Good for you Judge Tsoka!

Read more about the case at Water Justice.