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Refereed articles

Water privatisation and socio-economic rights in South Africa

The provision of water, the article posulates, is directly connected to the enjoyment of the constitutional right of access to water. Water service delivery mechanisms must therefore be in accordance with constitutional principles.

Some of the concerns arising from the process of privatisation in this context relate to 'the accountability of the parties involved, the participation of communities in decisions that affect their day-to-day lives and access by poor communities to water services'. The author concludes by recommending a number of safeguards which the Municipal Systems Act could incorporate, including a human rights impact assessment when considering various service delivery options, laying down a monitoring and regulatory framework for privatisation, and ensuring that pricing and disconnection policies do not overburden poor communities.

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