Phiri water struggles, 2004

Submitted by Steven. on November 10, 2006

Short article about a water struggle in 2004 in South Africa.

On October 15 2004, residents of Chiawelo, Phiri and Dlamini joined residents from elsewhere in Soweto in blocking the Old Potch road, a main Jo’burg through-road, to demand that the installation of prepaid water meters by Johannesburg Water be stopped. Police were out in force to disperse the protestors using stun grenades and random arrests. Since August 2003, at the start of Operation Gcina'Amanzi in Phiri, the water company has been confronted by resistance to its project to commodify water.

The threat that prepaid water meters constitute to the livelihoods and health of all Sowetans has reoriented the focus of the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee's struggle for basic services. Frustrated by continuing community resistance to the prepaid system, Johannesburg Water has not been able to complete the installation of the new meters in Phiri.