[Marxism] SACP-ANC and South Africa

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 13 13:52:25 MST 2007

>Which "mass organizations" in South Africa might those be? So far as I'm
>aware there are none outside COSATU or the SACP which could form a new party
>capable of displacing the ANC.

It depends on what you mean by mass. There are mass struggles for access to 
free water and electricity in the townships. That's where I would be if I 
were in South Africa. I imagine that the organizing committees involve 
substantial numbers of people since the deprival of water and electricity 
affect hundreds of thousands of people. Here's an account of some of their 

In 2002, Johannesburg Water came into one extension in Orange Farm, 
promising residents that it would be providing proper sewerage and 
sanitation systems in the area and for every household that paid R500 in 
what they called a 'pilot' project.   For their R500s, residents were 
provided with pre-paid water metres.   The pilot was a start of the 
installation of pre-paid water metres in Johannesburg.  In Orange Farm, 
residents, mainly women, came out into the streets in mass meetings and a 
massive campaign against JOWCO, and the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee 
(OWCC) was born.  Residents gave meaning to the graffiti sprayed all over 
Orange Farm, 'Break the metre. Enjoy the water!', and JOWCO retreated only 
to re-surface in Phiri, Soweto and other parts of Orange Farm in September 
2003.  Women have again come together as neighbours, friends and members of 
organisations in Orange Farm and Soweto to physically prevent the 
installation of pre-paid metres and to demand an end to the commodification 
of life.  Mainly unemployed, a large number of single parents, breadwinners 
responsible for large numbers of dependents, dependent on an 
ever-diminishing social welfare system, women in these areas have come 
together in projects, in organisations and in neighbourhood groups to 
demand that the state live up to its role of providing basic services, 
health, welfare and education.  While both men and women in Orange Farm 
have been adversely affected by the government's embrace of neo-liberalism, 
women have, through their traditional roles in the home, workplace and 
society generally, had to bear additional problems as a result of their 
role as 'nurturers' and providers for the needs of the family and home.  It 
is probably this need to provide for the most basic survival needs of 
people that has led women to adopt some of the most radical tactics in 
preventing what is sure to become the regulation of the use of natural 
resources by the individual's ability to pay.  Women in these areas speak 
of fears of cholera outbreaks as happened in Alexandra and KwaZulu Natal in 
2000 and 2001, when the introduction of higher user fees for water led to 
people consuming contaminated water, resulting in over 250 deaths.  They 
also fear that care of the sick (many HIV positive) and elderly will be 
compromised and that their households of more than six, will not be able to 
survive on the free 6kl of water provided by JOWCO.  What will they do when 
they have no money to re-fill their cards for water?  Children will go 
dirty and hungry, the sick will deteriorate, employment projects will 
close, and women will not be able to meet their traditional roles as 
providers and nurturers of life.

full: http://www.citizen.org/cmep/Water/gender/articles.cfm?ID=10787



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