Home About Themes Gallery Library Timeline Glossary Links Further Reading Copyright

Constitutional Court media summary on the Mazibuko judgment, 2009

Theme: Water

Call Number: B1.3.1.4
Identifier: AL3290_B1.3.1.4
Title: Constitutional Court media summary on the Mazibuko judgment, 2009
Date: October 2009
Subject: Anti-Privatisation Forum - APF;
City of Johannesburg - COJ;
Coalition against Water Privatisation - CAWP;
Court case;
Lindiwe Mazibuko;
Operation Conserve Water;
Operation Gcin'amanzi;
PPM - prepaid meters;
Description: After years of water cut-offs, Johannesburg Water began its 'Operation Gcin'amanzi' ('Operation Conserve Water') in Phiri (Soweto) in 2002, which saw the forcible installation of prepaid water meters against residents wishes. In response, the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) formed the Coalition against Water Privatisation (CAWP) to enjoin a broader battle against the installation of prepaid meters throughout 2003-2004. The City of Johannesburg (COJ) alongside the South African Police Service (SAPS), hired private security and the Prosecutor's Office deployed massive resources to crush this opposition and by 2004 had collectively succeeded in effectively stemming the resistance through a combination of brute force, large-scale arrests and detention as well as legal intimidation through high bail fees and drawn out cases on trumped up charges, etc. As a result, Phiri residents opted to open a constitutional rights legal challenge against the prepaid meters and for increased amounts of 'free basic water' with the COJ and the Department of Water Affairs as the main respondents. The case, which began to be put together with the assistance of the Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in 2004 became known as the Mazibuko case after the name of the first applicant (of five Phiri residents acting as applicants), Lindiwe Mazibuko. By 2006, the founding affidavit was ready and the case was registered in the Johannesburg High Court. In 2008 the High Court ruled in favour of the applicants, but this was immediately appealed by the COJ to the Supreme Court of Appeals (SCA). The SCA ruling in early 2009 satisfied neither party and the case was then taken to the Constitutional Court which ruled against the applicants in late 2009 as seen in this document. Although the case - which attracted huge national and global attention - was legally lost, the years-long battle framed by this case forced many changes in the City of Johannesburg's and national water policies and placed the issue of water privatisation in general and prepaid meters in particular on the national and international agenda. Included in SAHA virtual exhibition - 'Transition's Child: The Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF)'
Creator: Constitutional Court
Type: Document
Format: Access copy - pdf
Preservation copy - pdf
Source: SAHA collection AL3290
Language: English
Coverage: South Africa
Rights: Constitutional Court
To download documents from this website you must be registered on the South African History Archives (SAHA) website.
Visit the SAHA site to register
Already registered? Login here

Leave a Comment

Please share your views or anecdotes, particularly if you were present or affected by the events described in this poster, photograph or document.

Your Name: Your Email:
  Prove you're not a computer: eight + nine =
  (Please answer in digits, not letters. Eg: four + six = 10)
© SAHA 2024 Disclaimer Privacy Policy