Chicago Indymedia : http://dadaarchive.chicago.indymedia.org
Chicago Indymedia

News :: [none]

Confronting Conlog and Water Privatization

Three members of Sweetwater Alliance, a Michigan based direct action network of people opposed to the privatization of water took their concerns to a South African manufacturer of pre-paid water meters today.
Water Activists Confront Conlog About Pre-Paid Water Meters

by WaterWorks Media Collective

December 3, 2002

Durban, South Africa:


Three members of Sweetwater Alliance, a Michigan based direct action network of people opposed to the privatization of water took their concerns to a South African manufacturer of pre-paid water meters today.

Community activists Holly Wren Spaulding and Justin Rowe delivered a letter of protest and petitition with signatures from over ninety groups and individuals opposed to this technology. Conlog is one of the world’s leaders in the manufacture of these devices.

The letter and signatures were supported locally by the South Africa based Anti-Privatization Forum, and coordinated by Washington DC based Public Citizen.

“I found it startling that water is already a commodity in the language used by Conlog employees. Several times in our conversation the Conlog representative accidentally referred to water as a right, but quickly corrected himself.” said Justin Rowe, following the trip to Conlog’s offices and manufacturing facility. “This type of action—penetrating the enemy’s fortress—posses different challenges than we’ve been faced with already. When we first arrived he seemed to sense that we wanted more than just information. Controlling your state of mind is so crucial when in the territory of the target.”


The Conlog employee explained that you have to educate and train people about the fact that they have to pay for their access to water, which is a challenge becuase “water falls from the sky—how do you convince someone that they can’t have water—that they have to pay for it?”


Similar meters were outlawed in the U.K. in 1998 due to public health concerns. In Kwazulu Natal Province, here in South Africa, a recent cholera epidemic which resulted in over 200 deaths was traced to the fact that meters “self-disconnect” when the user runs out of money.

When Holly and Justin emerged from the massive concrete building in a suburb of Durban, artist Jenee Rowe was in the process of covering the Conlog sign near the entry to the secure property with a painted banner which read “Out of Order.”

“Using art as a tool of activism we edited the Conlog signs at the entrance, wrapping paper and paint were used to create our gift of opposition. Across the street, five pedestrians smiled, raising their fists in solidarity.”
 
 

Donate

Views

Account Login

Media Centers

 

This site made manifest by dadaIMC software