In Khayelitsha water, which is needed simply to live, is now sold to make money. The City, under both the DA and ANC, have installed water management devices to cut peoples’ water off when the free lifeline is finished. This means no money, no water! But you need water to live! But the polictians don’t care, of you can’t pay they just end up calling you lazy. The same applies to Eskom and electricity. We have to pay for this, or we get cut-off. The result, people who can’t pay have to use paraffin to cook etc., which is dangerous and results in shack fires and death. But do the rich and politicians care? NO they don’t. All they do is use capitalism and the state to try steal from us and smash us when we complain.
Public spaces within our townships are also being privatised. You now have to pay for things like community halls – such as Lookout Hill - which if they are meant for us, should be free. Developments in Khayalitsha are for the local elite to use to make money from us. KDF and the Business Forum chose to build malls – for companies like Shoprite, Spar, FNB, Standard Bank – instead of using it to build the things we need like houses. When developments do come to our townships, no-one asks whether we (the people) want them. They never even ask us what we actually want! We are treated like mindless kids – the rich and politicians privatize decision making and information and force things on us whether we want them or not.
Housing too has become privatized. If you want a house you need money and loans from the Banks. You spend your whole life paying these off – working to make the banks rich. Even the RDP houses are used by local business people, through local construction companies, to make profits. To cut costs they build poor quality houses that end up cracking and falling apart. Housing should be something that everyone should have; not something to make money from or for only people who can afford it.
Even our community radios are not controlled by us, but rather local business people and churches that make money from them through advertising. When we try to raise important issues on these stations, or try to get air play time, we are either silenced or given a slot when no-one is listening. This is part of privatisation and the censorship of ideas, and it costs us.
It is the politicians, the rich and the state that do these things to us. Under capitalism and the state system, we make the rich and politicians rich. In the end we die poor, and for long as the state and capitalism exist this won’t change. We have to fight against these if we are not going to die silent and poor. We need water, electricity, housing and spaces where we can express ourselves freely – these are the basics of a decent and proud life. We, therefore, have to take these back – no-one should own these things and make money from them. We should rather control all of these things as a community for the benefit of us all, using direct democracy where we decide what we want, not a tiny group of politicians and rich people. Only when this happens will we be truly free and only then will things like homelessness, cut-offs, evictions, crime, poverty, frustration and misery end.