Date: Sat, 9 May 98 01:01:55 CDT
From: email@example.com (Rich Winkel)
Subject: South Africa: Fight Over Privatization Of Water
/** labr.global: 346.0 **/
** Topic: S.A. Privatization Of Water Fight **
** Written 3:26 PM May 6, 1998 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
/* Written 3:16 PM May 6, 1998 by dkproj@YORKU.CA in igc:list.labor */
/* ---------- "rivatisation of water in Dolphin Co" ---------- */
Privatisation of water on the Dolphin coast
SAMWU Press Statement
5 May 1998 11am
Minister Valli Moosa is expected to arrive within the hour at the Dolphin
Coast municipality in KwaZulu-Natal to announce to the media the winning
bidder for the privatisation of water and sewerage in the area. The
privatisation initiative has been lauded by the Town Clerk as a project of
"national importance." Yet among the bidders are the notorious French
multinationals Lyonnaise Des Eaux and Generales Des Eaux, as well as
British privateer Thames Water. These three companies have privatised water
in different parts of the world with disastrous effects for communities as
these case studies reveal:
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Lyonnaise Des Eaux privatises water, increases
the rates way above the prices agreed on in the contract, and then
threatens to cut people off completely when they cannot afford to pay
Tucuman province, Argentina - after long-standing problems with the quality
of water, a Generales Des Eaux subsidiary pulls out of the contract.
Government money spent on the initial bidding process is wasted. One
wonders how many millions council has spent on this Dolphin Coast bidding
Water privateers claim to be investing billions of rands to improve water
delivery when they first privatise. In actual fact, they usually take up
loans instead and cover the repayment costs by raising the prices charged
to consumers - in Britain, 70 per cent of all the investment made since
privatisation has been paid for by consumers. Why else would Thames Water
be bidding for a contract here in South Africa?
Privatisation will ultimately cost the government more money. The U.K.
Department of Trade and Industry has acknowledged that some R480m was given
to various British water privateers up to five years after privatisation.
Similarily in Khayelitsha last year when the private refuse removers could
not keep up with their work, council had to send municipal workers back
into the area to assist with cleaning!
The Dolphin Coast privatisation initiative goes completely against the
binding ruling of the South African Local Government Bargaining Council
last year that the "public sector is the preferred deliverer of services".
SAMWU has already demanded that Minister Valli Moosa intervene decisively
in privatisation initiatives at municipal level, which SAMWU alleges are
often initiated by councillors for personal gain. SAMWU has already used
the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to halt
the privatisation of refuse removal in Khayelitsha. We will not hesitate to
make full use of the Commission to enforce the Bargaining Council decision.
SAMWU would like to take this opportunity to make an press announcement of
its own - this coming Friday, 8th May 1998, SAMWU will be taking up this
issue in the KZN provincial Bargaining Council to demand an immediate stop
to the privatisation of Dolphin Coast's water and sewerage. Failing that,
general meetings will take place among membership, who will then decide on
a course of action.
For comment, please phone the Provincial Secretary Richard Hlope on 031
3329561/2 OR 083 5602048