Support The March Against Anti-poor Local Government

Join Our March And Struggles

Friday 14 September 2007

SATURDAY, 25TH FEB 2006 We are calling on all residents of Johannesburg to support our march to the Gauteng Legislature and Johannesburg Water. We are departing from the APF offices, corner Smit and Biccard Street, Braamfontein, at 10h00.

Why are we marching and struggling ?

At local government level we experience firsthand the arrogance, corruption, greed and non-delivery of the ANC dominated Local Government. We also experience the lack of accountability of those who supposedly represent and lead our communities. We have seen that the ANC Local Government delivers to those who are rich and well-connected while the basic needs of the poor majority continue to be ignored. This represents class-based delivery, delivery for the rich.

The APF understands that in present-day South Africa, we live under a capitalist system. Delivery of basic services to the poor majority only happens after the capitalists have made their profits. In Johannesburg, for instance, the ANC Local Government has privatized the provision of basic services. They are now wanting to borrow money from foreign banks to finance the installing of pre-paid water meters. The APF and other organizations have resisted the pre-paid water meters because they are an attack on the working class and poor. People within the Johannesburg Inner City have also been subjected to inhumane evictions by the “Red Ants”. These Inner-City evictions are an attempt by the ANC Local Government to chase out the working class and poor and make it a place for the rich. Also the Erkhuleni Local Government wants to privatize electricity through the formation of Regional Electricity Distributors (REDS) putting the provision of electricity in the hands of the capitalists.

We have also seen that the communities are excluded from directing and controlling Local Government. The working class and poor are left out of the so-called ‘democracy’. We are being reduced to acting as voting fodder every few years. Within this so-called democracy the Mayors are appointed by Thabo Mbeki. Decisions on allocations and the setting of budgets of local government are being taken by a select few without any participation from the people themselves.

Over the last several years the APF aligned communities and other poor communities across the country( in Khutsong, Free State, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal) have protested and struggled against local governments. For the APF, the role of local government can never be to replace those struggles simply by electing and putting ‘better’ people into office/government. But, what we can, and must, do is to force local government through whatever means we may choose,( including elections) to become pro-working class and pro-poor. For this to happen means we must continue our struggles and build strong mass organizations. This is the only solution.

What are we demanding ?

We want a local government that is close to the people. We want democracy by, and of, the people. This means real participation and not simply representation (through elections and institutions). We want to make sure that local government institutions and elected representatives are accountable to those in whose name they govern.

For this to become possible we demand: The right to recall local government representatives who are not carrying out the mandate of the people. This will be done through a people’s referendum in the relevant constituencies. The government must do away with its policies of privatisation, corporatisation and outsourcing of water and sanitation utilities, management and delivery. Government needs to ensure that all water/sanitation service utilities (such as Johannesburg Water) are publicly owned and managed on a not-for-profit basis. The cutting-off of water supplies to households must be abolished. The prepaid meter programme must be immediately stopped and all households must be provided with a full-credit meter that allows enough water to meet human needs and hygiene. Institutions such as public schools, community halls, public clinics, public swimming pools and public recreational must get free water. There must be free, quality and equitable public education provided for all, from pre-school to the tertiary level as well as for adult basic education. All user fees must be immediately scrapped. An end to all cut-offs and the banning of pre-paid meters A halt to the criminalisation of community members who are forced to reconnect their electricity in order to receive a service. Adequate amounts of free electricity to meet our needs. A well-funded public works programme based on plans developed by working class constituencies and the workers that build them, that provide sustained employment on decent wages. Experience should not prevent anyone from getting a job. No outsourcing to the private sector. All and any contracts made by councils should only be with companies employing a unionised workforce. End employment of casual labour and labour broking in councils, and ensure expanded and useful permanent work where the working class needs services. Government must provide enough housing on a mass scale, free and on a subsidised rental basis. Housing for those living in squatter camps and overcrowded conditions must be prioritised. To make this possible: Expropriate the infrastructure and means to build homes (the large cement, brick and construction companies, etc); Expropriate land to meet this need. End the private ownership of land.

Who is going to pay for these demands ?

We are saying that the working class produces enough wealth for all its needs to be met. The problem is that this wealth is taken by the rich. We are therefore demanding that :

National government must increase the amount of money it provides to local government. These transfers need to be democratically decided. Set maximum salary levels for city managers, mayors, councillors and senior local government officials. Through rising block tariffs ensure that high users of services like water, waste and electricity pay more so that the extra money can be used to cross-subsidise those who cannot afford to pay. Tax the rich and halt and reverse lower corporate taxes. Increase corporate taxes and end VAT on all basic goods and services. Increase tax on profits and fat-cat salaries. Tax company and individual money that is invested overseas. Scrap apartheid debts. Pass laws that force pension funds to invest in public and productive use under a democratically decided plan (prescribed assets).


For more information: Contact APF : (011) 3394121

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