No water, 'no vote' – Cape Town protesters march to civic centre

2018-11-22 16:28
Protesters at the Cape Town Civic Centre (Jenni Evans, News24)

Protesters at the Cape Town Civic Centre (Jenni Evans, News24)

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A group of informal settlement residents in Cape Town have vowed not to vote in next year's elections if they do not get the water and sanitation they are constitutionally entitled to.

"The right to water is the right to life," said the Social Justice Coalition's (SJC) Sbu Mdlankomo on the steps of the Cape Town Civic Centre following a march through the CBD on Thursday.

Reading a memorandum on behalf of the Social Justice Coalition movement, he said the Day Zero fear of running out of water during the drought was only a problem for those who had water in the first place.

"The City of Cape Town is now lauded internationally for its water saving strategies – water we do not have," he said.

"The water tariffs have been adjusted and the anger has subsided, but we still have no water. While others breathe sighs of relief we are still in crisis, we have always been in crisis!"

Their demands are:

  • A meeting with Mayor Dan Plato to address their concerns before the last council meeting of 2018;
  • Taps with drains;
  • Full flush toilets;
  • Electricity; and
  • Refuse collection.

Memorandum received

Singing loudly and switching their megaphone to siren mode, the picketers held posters that read: "Water is Life" and mock-charged the building.

Protesters demand water services

Striking bus drivers stood on the sidelines, with police standing guard on the steps.

While the situation was calm on Thursday, police discharged stun grenades to disperse the striking MyCiTi workers on Wednesday and several protesters were arrested. They were later released. 

The City's director for safety and security, Richard Bosman, emerged to receive the memorandum which was addressed to Plato and city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo.

Protester Nosicelo Jacobs said they were tired of struggling to get the most basic of services such as water and toilets in informal settlements.

"We pay R2 at the mall to use a loo," she said, explaining the measures that some residents have to go to if they don't want to relieve themselves in bushes.

The group gave Plato and Mbandazayo ten days to come back to them with concrete plans to improve their situation.

After they handed the memorandum over, they dispersed and waited for their transport back home.

MyCiTi drivers were walking around with letters they had just received from their union to give their creditors to explain why they will not be able to meet their financial obligations this month.

They have been on strike since October and are demanding that they are hired directly by the city instead of the vehicle operating companies contracted by the City.

Read more on:    cape town  |  water
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