This piece is based on our submission on the City of Cape Town’s draft budget for 2021-2022, and focuses on the proposed revised approach to domestic water metering.
An abridged version was published in the Daily Maverick, 10 May 2021.
The City seems to have finally realised, after 15 years of grassroots organizing against the dreaded Water Management Device (WMD), that the system needs to go. The bad news is that, upon closer inspection, the proposal merely offers new strategies in the form of ‘new’ technological instruments that will deprive people of adequate supplies of water, and does so in the midst of a public health crisis. The approach is consistent with the city’s long history of punishing people who cannot afford to pay for water, and violates their human right to water under Chapter 2 of the Constitution, as legislated by the Water Services Act 108 of 1997.