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Soweto Concerned Residents launches the R5.00 Service Campaign
southern africa | community struggles | non-anarchist press Friday January 23, 2009 20:14 by Nic - Anti-Privatisation Forum antiprivatisationforum at gmail dot com
We are poor and we can’t afford to pay for services (Zonke R5.00)
The Soweto Concerned Residents (SCR) held a community mass meeting in Orlando East at the A.M.E church to discuss the 2009 national elections and the state of the poor working class in the country. The meeting is normally attended by elderly pensioners and unemployed residents who are receiving various state support grants, many of whom were in the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. The meeting took a resolution to go and pay R5.00 zonke for basic services to their ward councillor, Ruby Mathang, on the 21st January 2009 at his office. This is a defiance campaign against market related charges for basic services for the poor and unemployed.
The church was packed to capacity and it was clear that the elderly residents want change in their lives as they were promised a better life for all in 1994 by the first democratically elected president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. Many of the residents voted for the African National Congress (ANC) because the liberation movement promised them free electricity, water, sanitation, education, housing and jobs for all under the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP). All these were not fulfilled because the ANC listened to the prescription of the Washington consensus and decided to adopt a neo-liberal macro-economic policy, GEAR. This push made it clear that the delivery of basic services would be market driven and that cuts in subsidies to municipalities would force them to recover costs from users. Municipal language quickly changed and now poor working class communities are seen as so many customers for municipal entities to maximize profits.