Earlier this year, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) conducted an inquiry into the water crisis in the municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. The inquiry has found that the municipalities have violated people’s rights by not providing clean water for the residents of KwaZulu-Natal.
Many richer people do not know how difficult it is to walk kilometres to access water, which is a basic necessity. It is a feeling that everyone experiences daily in the shack settlements and rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. This is not the life South Africans should live 30 years after apartheid.
Furthermore, the water trucks that are supposed to bring water for the people in the shack settlements are coming once a day, and if you are left out, you have to find other means to get water. Some communities go for as long as a week without water. Some officials are making people pay for the water trucks to come to their areas.
People are deliberately denied access to water to enable African National Congress (ANC) water truck tenderpreneurs to enrich themselves. For this reason, corrupt officials in the municipality would rather outsource water delivery instead of fixing water infrastructure.
Water should not be commodified, whether by the state or corrupt officials. The rivers flow for all, and water should be free for all.
Water is necessary for life, yet the ANC is so contemptuous of the poor that even water is not fully available to us.
The failure to provide water for all is a violation of our dignity and our well-being, including our health, time and comfort.
As with so many matters, the ANC and the state do not care. Just as they don’t care about the thousands of elderly people who did not receive their social grants due to the incompetence of the minister of Social Development and Communication. Just as they don’t care about the people who are left to burn in shacks and city centres. Just as they don’t care when we are assassinated by the izinkabi or killed by the police, anti-land invasion units and private security. Just as they don’t care about the masses of young people who have never worked. Just as they don’t care about the young people struggling with heroin addiction. Just as they don’t care about all the people going hungry.
The ANC will neglect, abuse and starve people and then expect them to vote for the ANC, only to starve and suffer abuse and neglect again. The amount of arrogance from those who are supposed to serve us is huge. It is as if they think we owe them for ‘leading us’ while they get richer and we get poorer.
The water crisis is not only in KwaZulu-Natal. In Ekurhuleni, people have taken to the streets in KwaThema after they have been without water for weeks. This is a complete violation of their rights. The most affected are those who come from the poorest communities, such as KwaThema, but the ANC has mismanaged the country’s infrastructure so badly that just as the middle classes are also hit by load shedding, even some middle-class areas are now going without water too.
Two major hospitals are without water as we speak. These are government hospitals that only serve the poor who cannot afford private health care. Besides having hospitals that do not have enough resources for the people, now we have to go to hospitals where there is no water.
Amid this crisis, the ANC plans another devastating austerity that will massively attack social services and institutions.
The ANC does not care about poor black people. Everyone must confront this fact. As the poor, we are on our own and must build our own power and make our own future.
The task that confronts us is clear. We must build socialism from below.
Land & Dignity!