Montreal

Break the Meter - Enjoy the Water

Saturday November 8 at 8:30 pm at Pharmacie Esperanza

Saturday 1 November 2003, by ALTERNATIVES

Alternatives invites you to an evening of solidarity with South African activists unjustly imprisoned for their efforts to combat the installation of pre-paid water meters. The evening will begin with a presentation of the documentary Arresting Dissent, produced by Indymedia South Africa. After the film, there will be a short speech by Bricks Makolo, member of the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee, on the grass-roots struggle against the privatization of water in South Africa. A question and answer/discussion period will follow.

The event will take place Saturday, November 8, 2003 at 8:30 pm at Pharmacie Esperanza, 5490 St-Laurent (corner of St-Viateur).

Funds raised (voluntary donation, suggested contribution of $5) will be used towards bail for front-line activists jailed in the fight against water privatization.

Both the film and speech will be in English.

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Bricks Makolo was heavily involved in South African anti-apartheid movements. In 1985, he was imprisoned, held without trial and tortured for his anti-apartheid activities.

Brick is a founding member of Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee, a grass-roots community movement struggling against the privatization of municipal water services.

As a result of the South African government’s policy of privatization, more than 10 million people have been affected by water cutoffs since 1996. In some municipalities, water costs increased by more than 500%.

Beginning in the year 2000, pre-paid water meters were introduced in selected communities. This system forces citizens to pay for their water in advance, much as one would by units on a pre-paid phone card. Once the units are use up, the water stops flowing.

The instillation of water meters in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province forced a large portion of the provinces population to get their water from local rivers. This led directly to the largest cholera outbreak in the history of South Africa, with more than 120 000 people infected and a death toll of over 300.

We condemn the neo-liberal policies that commodify essential public services such as water. In the words of Bricks Makolo, "Privatization is a new kind of apartheid - apartheid separated whites from blacks; privatization separates the rich from the poor." Water is not a privilege, but a fundamental right!


For more information :

Alternatives, 982-6606 ext 2258 / 2250

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