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Can Human Rights Transcend the Commercialization of Water in South Africa? Soweto's Legal Fight for an Equitable Water Policy

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  • Jackie Dugard

    ()
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA)

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    Abstract

    The South African Constitution guarantees the right to water, which is reinforced by a national Free Basic Water policy. However, water delivery is a local government function, which, in the absence of a national regulator, is largely operated as a commercial service. Using the lens of the Mazibuko water rights case---^the first South African test case on the right to water---^this article examines the conflict between a progressive rights-based model, which views water as a social good, and the commercialized model, which treats water as a source of revenue instead of a public service. The article finds in the legal iterations of the Mazibuko applicants the potential for a new, more equitable approach to water services. This is despite the set-back occasioned by the ultimate legal defeat in the Constitutional Court in late-2009.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Union for Radical Political Economics in its journal Review of Radical Political Economics.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June)
    Pages: 175-194

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    Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:175-194

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    Web page: http://www.urpe.org/

    Related research

    Keywords: right to water; social good; commercialization; water services; South Africa;

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