'Free Basic Water' and cost recovery : impact on low-income households in Grabouw

Master Thesis

2005

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University of Cape Town

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On democratisation, the South African government faced the enormous challenge of providing services to those disadvantaged by apartheid. In the area of water provision, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry implemented a policy of cost recovery to enable local government to become financially sustainable. However, as this policy allowed municipalities to cut off the water supply of consumers who defaulted in their municipal payments, government's stance on non-payment - that it was a residual culture of the rates' boycotts of the apartheid era - drew fire, with critics arguing that the real issue was about the affordability of services, particular in terms of such a basic service as water provision. This dissertation examines the reasons for non-payment for municipal services and the implications of the policy of cost recovery for impoverished households in the small town of Grabouw in the Western Cape. A detailed household analysis demonstrates that non-payment for services is related to unemployment and the consequent inability to afford services.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 83-88).

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