Tuesday 29 August 2006 by Dale



Reminiscent of the rent boycott and the “Asinamali” Campaign of the 1980s, the Vaal Region of the Anti-Privatisation Forum is marching to the offices of the Sedibeng District Council in support of its demand for pension surpluses, compensation for industrial pollution, job creation/ labour rights and the provision of basic services such as water, electricity, education and housing. The march will take place on Thursday 31 August 2006 and is part of the APF campaign for the government to deal with basic services, unemployment and poverty within working class communities.


The march starts at 10:00 am (31 August) at the Vaal Show Grounds, next to General Smuts. It will proceed to the Sedibeng District Council Offices (using the Beaconfield route). The memorandum containing the demands will be delivered to the Sedibeng District Mayor, Mayors of Emfuleni, Midvaal, and Lesedi municipalities as well as all industries, Pension Funds, Pension Administrators, Pension Trustees, Education Authorities, Department of Labour, ESKOM, Metsi a Lekoa, SAPS Commissioner, Shoprite Checkers, Prestige Cleaning company and Monyetla(VESCO).

An end to privatisation of water and electricity

Just like other areas, communities in the Vaal have been faced with electricity cut-offs. In a context where many people are unemployed and retrenched it becomes unreasonable for the local government to expect a full payment for services like electricity. The APF Vaal Region is demanding that the local government provides electricity to working class communities in a manner that takes into account the fact that the overwhelming majority of our people are unemployed and poor. A system that ensures that the rich and big companies subsidize the unemployed and the poor has to be implemented. We are aware of the fact that the water service provider in the Vaal - Metsi a Lekoa - has plans that seek to further privatise the provision of water in the Vaal. Metsi a Lekoa intends installing prepaid water meters which will further undermine access to water. People in Phiri (Soweto) and Orange Farm have rightly opposed the installation of these meters. We also urge the community of the Vaal to follow suit. We demand that the Council disclose, fully, all policies and decisions taken in relation to provision of water and electricity.

Pollution is killing us!!

Environmental studies have shown that the Vaal area is one of the most polluted areas in the country. Companies such as SAMANCOR, ISCOR (MITTAL), SASOL and Eskom are the polluters of our environment. The pollution has led to an increase in respiratory problems among working class people in the communities. Our demand is that these companies should be compelled by the local government and the state to compensate all communities that have been affected and that government force these companies to stop polluting our communities.

Where are the pension surpluses?

In 2001, the South African Parliament passed Pension Fund 2nd Amendment Act 39, which required companies to pay out relevant pension surplus monies to former and existing members. However, to date, most companies continue to ignore this while the many retrenched workers in the Vaal live in poverty and have no money to live. We demand Council intervention on the pension funds so as to enforce the law. In order to lessen the impact on unemployment and poverty, the state must force companies to audit pensions funds so that surpluses can be paid to retrenched workers.

What has happened to the ‘indigency’ policy?

In 1998, our Municipality indigency policy exempted all registered ‘indigents’ from paying rates & taxes. Then, in 2002 the Municipality introduced a new policy which required ‘indigents’ to pay R500 to cancel their services debts. Many people did so, but the debts were not cancelled and instead the monies disappeared into the pockets of corrupt officials and councilors. Today the same ‘indigents’ are called on by the Municipality to sign declarations based on false promises of subsidies and cancellation of debts Where does this debt come from? Who owes who? We demand full disclosure of the indigency registration process through release of Council minutes and resolutions as well as full disclosure of all councilors and officials facing corruption charges. Further, we demand that the Municipality takes full control of all graveyards and makes provision of full subsidies/exemption for all poor people.

Decent housing and education for all!

Our communities are not adequately housed and education continues to be hostage to one’s ability to pay. We demand that the Council immediately stop the SA Police Services from harassing innocent people on behalf of the Council, banks & other mortgage holders. Further, there must be full disclosure by the Council of all Housing infrastructural development and land acquisition plans/programmes especially in the following communities: SONDERWATER, KANANA, BOIKETLONG, ANGOLA, AVIVA-VILLE (BOIPATONG), NEW-VILLAGE & ZONE 19.

Where have all the jobs gone?

ASGISA (the offspring of GEAR) has promised 1 000 000 quality jobs but 60% of Vaal residents are jobless and earn no income at all. In a context of such unemployment and poverty, the demand from the people is that government has to ensure that it provides basic services and education for the working class and the poor. The state must intervene in the economy in a manner that creates sustainable work for the unemployed and saves existing jobs. We demand full disclosure of all the Extended Public Works Programmes in the Vaal Region.

The unconditional support of the Shoprite Checkers Striking Workers and enforcement of labour legislation One of the principles of workers’ struggles and the Asinamali campaign of the 1980s was a principle of solidarity. The working class used to say, “An injury to one is an injury to all”. We are in full support of the striking workers at Shoprite Checkers. We are urging members of the communities not to purchase from Shoprite and Checkers until the workers demands have been met fully. We demand that the Council ensure that all businesses in the Vaal adhere to the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Equity Act as well as the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

BUS PICK UP POINTS Sharpeville - Roman Catholic Church (Putswastena); Bophelong Hall; Evaton West - Matome Primary School ; Sebokeng: Zone 3 -Stop Sign; Zone 10- BP Garage; Zone 15- Masoheng; Kwa-Masiza- Stadium; Zone 11- Post Office; Residensia- Maranatha Church; Kanana- Tlasa dithelegrama; Boitumelo- Letsemeng Primary School; SonderWater - Office

CONTACTS: APF Office : Tel: 339-4121 Fax: 339-4123 Website: apf.org.za

APF VAAL REGION: PATRA @ 073-0527005 OUPA @083-4292477 PHINEAS @072 2746073

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