Counter-mobilisations in Kliptown to government celebrations of 50th Anniversary of Freedom Charter
Saturday 23 July 2005 by Dale
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS INDABA & THE ANTI-PRIVATISATION FORUM
Join the Protests and Community Events for Housing, Jobs, Water, Sanitation and Development on 26 and 27 June 2005 in Kliptown (Soweto). Expose the Parliamentary Seating for the cynical charade it is!
We are calling upon communities, journalists, international guests and all interested people to join our assembly and the people’s inspection of 26 June 2005 (Sunday) in Kliptown, Soweto. The inspection will take us through the township and will demonstrate the fact that government has failed to deliver to the people of Kliptown.
The Assembly and the inspection will start at 09h00 am at the Battre Centre in Kliptown (Speeches, Poetry, Music, Theatre)
We will also be marching to the parliamentary seating on 27 June 2005 at 09h00 am. Meet at Pimville Square.
We are urging all communities to join us!
Fifty years ago, people from various corners of the country came to our township, Kliptown to adopt the Freedom Charter. The desire of these people was to see the eradication of apartheid and the improvement of the living conditions of the working class and the poor not only in Kliptown but also in other parts of the country. Predicated on that vision, they adopted the Freedom Charter which, among other things, argues for democracy and access to housing, education, work and a decent life. But the ANC government has failed to deliver on the promises of the Freedom Charter and the Reconstruction and Development Programme. Instead, the ANC government has implemented GEAR which has led to job losses, evictions, electricity cut-offs and many other social and economic ills for the majority of South Africans.
After fifty years of the Freedom Charter and ten years of democracy, the conditions of the working class in Kliptown and other parts of the country have worsened. Unemployment in South Africa has reached crisis proportions. Despite the fact that the ANC government promised people jobs, the unemployment rate is around 40%. In Kliptown, the unemployment rate is estimated at 72%.
Rising unemployment and declining incomes have been associated with a declining share in the national income for working people. In 1995 the poorest 20% of households received 1,9% of total South African income. By the year 2000 the poorest of the poor received 1,6% of national income. In the past three years, however, profits rose from 29% to 34% of the national income. In 2002 the gap between capitalists’ profits and wages/salaries was the widest since 1981. We cannot celebrate the Freedom Charter because the majority of us are unemployed and engulfed by poverty. That is why we are also joining all those who are demanding jobs.
Aside from rising unemployment, declining income and rising poverty, the broad working class has had to contend with a decline in state provision of social services. Budget cuts in the late 1990s and privatisation programmes have had a devastating impact on service provision. For many working people basic services such as water, electricity, education and healthcare remain poor in quality and unaffordable. Most of the unemployed have no access to these social services. The deteriorating health services are made worse by the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the working class and the poor.
Kliptown, an area where the charter was adopted, is no exception. It is an informal settlement of some 2700 shacks with a density of over 70 houses per hectare. Water supply is via standpipes with up to 20 houses sharing one standpipe. Sanitation is by means of a bucket system, with one toilet being shared by about 11 families. Another problem identified by the community is the sewage flowing in the streets. Laundry is done at the standpipes and the wastewater is thrown into the street. The high density of the shacks means that there is an almost constant flow of dirty water from each standpipe into the streets. This water is further polluted from pigs and from overflowing bucket latrines. Children playing in the streets are at considerable risk, and the Klipspruit river which flows along the edge of the settlement has become polluted. Besides the problems of housing, unemployment, electricity, water and sanitation, Kliptown has no schools, clinics and recreational facilities. HIV AIDS and crisis of the health system is another problem which has been ignored by those who are celebrating the Freedom Charter in Kliptown.
The parliamentarians have ignored this area for a long time. Now they are coming to Kliptown to celebrate the Freedom Charter but want to ignore our poverty. It is reported that the parliamentary seating in Kliptown will cost parliament more than R6 million. These are the people who have ignored Kliptown for ten years and now they want to pretend as if they care for Kliptown. The parliamentarians who are coming to our Kliptown are not looking after our interests. They just want our votes for the coming local government elections. If they had our interests at heart, why did they not build houses, roads, schools, clinics recreational facilities and crèches ten years ago? If they had our interests at heart, they would have ensured that our community has proper sanitation and libraries. They have had more than ten years to deliver but they continue to fail Kliptown and it residents.
- Decent houses, schools, libraries, clinics and recreational facilities!
- Water and Sanitation - and end to the bucket system!
- Development that is democratic and inclusive!
- An end to electricity cut-offs!
- Jobs for all!
For more information contact Sipho at 076 305 7399, Mondli at 084 377 3003 or the APF at (011) 339 4121.
Issued by Kliptown Concerned Residents, Social Movements Indaba and the Anti-Privatisation Forum on 23 June 2005 (Other organisation supporting the events in Kliptown include: Jubilee (SA) Freedom of Expression Institute and Khanya College
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- Social Movements Indaba - SMI