|Council votes for pay rise Lone member rejects increase - Bongani Mthembu - Daily News Thursday 8 December 2005|
COUNCILLORS PAY INCREASES - News Release October 2001
CROSS-SUBSIDIES - News Release 04/11/05
INVITATION - MEDIA CONFERENCE November 2005
WATER TARIFFS - News Release 20/10/05
city was the first to introduce free water, but not all poor families receive
free water and not all poor families qualify for arrears write-offs. eThekwini
Municipality needs to continue to take the lead in making water more affordable
and available to the poorest. Present high industrial use is perversely
subsidised - industries pay less per litre of water than equivalent domestic
consumers. eThekwini's water rates are very reasonable compared to the primary
commercial and industrial competitors, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Low prices
for water paid by commerce and industry encourage waste and abuse because
those sectors are not given a financial incentive to decrease consumption.
National Business Initiative CEO Andre Fourie notes that; "It is scary
from an economic perspective to see water is scarce, cheap and being wasted"
(DEAT NSSD Workshop).
When it comes to accessing the free water supply, a poor household - including tenants and backyard shack dwellers - that has more members than a smaller, wealthy household is the victim of bias under the present free amount per household policy. Those with large families and HIV+ members who need more water and whose lives are threatened by water-borne diseases should not be denied water they presently cannot afford.
Potentially unconstitutional municipal practices, ranging from outright disconnections of water supplies to installation of pre-paid meters and restrictors will be tested in the constitutional court in coming months. eThekwini Council has agreed that unnecessarily punitive cut-offs and restrictions should be avoided. There is actually no need to resort to measures that may be negatively construed as extortion or violence - a progressive surcharge on high consumption is an alternative.
A major cross-subsidy from high level water consumers is needed to meet constitutional requirements to provide water to all residents, and our ecological obligation to avoid waste while rather encouraging conservation, especially by the heaviest users of water.
What is urgently required is a rising water tariff to halt commercial and industrial waste. Penalties for overuse can be passed on in order to increase the free amount. The present 6 kilolitre per household per month is not sufficient. eThekwini Water and Sanitation could increase the supply to the promised 60 litres per person per day (Reconstruction and Development Programme, section 2.6.7) with resources made available from commercial and industrial users. Sharing the cost of this per capita water subsidy, between top water consumers, would amount to a relatively miniscule increase for each. Industries may either pass on the slightly increased costs, or conserve water.
A progressively graded charge for consumption of water per person in excess of the "free amount" can protect low-income people, while charging gradual continuous exponential increasing prices for large users encourages conservation. The free amount could be increased; after this, charges should increase gradually. Greater arrears write-offs, reconnection fees, and speedy connections to 55 000 families can be covered through larger charges to heavy consumers.
Prepaid water meters, tricklers and other restriction devices could be dispensed with. The British government banned them as a human rights abuse.
These proposals conducive to a more stable social/political environment would improve prospects for growth, development and FDI. Otherwise we may face strikes, disruptions, unrest - targeting high consumers, and local government who supply their discount. The following motion proposed by ECOPEACE Councillor Alan Murphy will be tabled at the next Council meeting on Thursday 27 October:
NOTICE OF MOTION - WATER RATES REVIEW (11/1/P)
The present Municipal Water Tariff subsidises high level water use, thereby creating what is, in effect, a system of "corporate welfare" to the detriment of the poor and middle income consumers; Water cut-offs and restrictions are often constitutionally questionable and, in the case of domestic consumers, usually cause hardship; A poor household that has more members than a wealthy household is, in fact, worse off under the present 6 kilolitre scheme; The subsidising of commerce and industry must inevitably encourage waste and abuse of the system by those sectors; Figures supplied by the Head: Water and Sanitation shows a per capita water subsidy would total in the order of R 300 000 for each 1 000 of the poorest households if the average poor household consists of 7 or more people. Industries may pass on any increased cost to their customers or conserve water but poor people cannot live without water. Pre-paid meters can deprive a poor family from access to a basic water supply.
That the Procurement and Infrastructure Committee investigate and report back to the Council on or before the first meeting of the Council in 2006 on the following:-
The feasibility of a cross-subsidy of poorer consumers by high water consumers by way of mechanisms such as:-
per capita use charges; a "free amount" which does not unjustly discriminate against larger households; a progressively graded charge for consumption of water in excess of the "free amount" and The feasibility of the elimination of prepaid water meters.
CROSSTITUTION - News Release 16/09/05
demands REAL HOMES to build REAL COMMUNITIES
iECOPEACE ifuna AMAKHAYA ANGEMPELA ukwakha IMIPHAKATHI YANGEMPELA
Silwela uHulumeni ohlanzekile 2005 - Action for clean government 2005
indlala ibanga ulaka - hunger makes us angry
COUNCILLOR PROTEST - News Release 14/09/05
ALTERNATE FUELS - ECOPEACE MAKES A DIFFERENCE - News Release 24/08/05
Council Meeting of 24 August passed the ECOPEACE Alternate Fuels motion
below. The meeting was housed in a marquee on the banks of Inanda dam
at the Emphephetheni Tribal Court Sportsground Ward 2. The ECOPEACE motion
was the only one on the Agenda to be considered. The ANC used the rules
of order to postpone all the other motions proposed by the DA, and
also pre-empted one motion calling for a Moratorium on Relocations.
The ANC used rule of order 2.2 to propose a number of motions that were not on the Agenda, including one to; suspend Actions including Evictions, Park off Arrears interest free, Transfer Ownership (to those owing R7 500 or less), and install Pre-paid meters.
ECOPEACE made objections to the last matter noting community resistance to Pre-paid meters.
In regards to another rule 2.2 motion by the ANC, Madam Speaker noted that Water Cut-offs were "an inconvenience". ECOPEACE Councillor Alan Murphy responded saying this was an understatement in the extreme, "It is a medical fact, people do not survive much more than three days without water. Water cut-offs are an act of violence; attempted murder. If anyone were to die due to such lack it would be murder."
"The 200 litres per day of free water is not per capita and is not sufficient for poor households. For example a family of five has only 40 litres of water each per day. A poor family of ten or more only has 20 litres or less. This is inhumane."
Councillor Murphy also noted that industrial consumers of large amounts of water like Mondi are given a discount. This is a cross-subsidy of the rich by the middle income earners and working class, contrary to policy. Also local communities, some adversely affected by the dam still did not have access to water.
ECOPEACE policy is that by increasing the rates on a sliding scale to large consumers, (possibly by only a fraction) this would be sufficient to cover arrears and supply adequate free water per capita.
Councillor Gil Fourie infected by election fever and playing to the crowds claimed that ECOPEACE was "part of a programme to deny water to people." This is obviously not true.
Motion - Alternate Fuels
Oil is a non-renewable resource that inevitably will be depleted. It is wise to use what is available in a more sustainable manner while it lasts. It is also better that our economy is not overly reliant on what is obviously not a limitless fuel supply.
It is prudent for this Council to be proactive and take a leadership role: there are a number of alternatives available that should be examined. These range from completely renewable sources of energy through to interim sustainable use of non-renewables with various combinations in between. As examples (but not a complete list) 100 octane ethanol "Union Spirit" was available at local service stations until the early 1980s, bio-diesel can now be produced on farms, electric-hybrid vehicles are on sale, LGP (liquefied petroleum gas) conversions are also available for vehicles that still allow duel fuel use.
Changing to such options, or others not elaborated on, has an added advantage of producing less or little pollution.
Recommended that, the Procurement and Infrastructure Committee should investigate the viabilities of a full range of options and consider implementing any that are appropriate for Council vehicles and report to Council on or before 27 October 2005.
|Reactor plans spark Durban nuclear fears By Santosh Beharie - page 1 The Sunday Tribune January 30, 2005|
WILL ESKOM NUKE SA? - News Release May 2002
non-polluting economical wind, wave and solar power sources creates many
unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and decreases electricity costs.
However state money that could promote renewable energy is going elsewhere;
if Eskom is allowed to test a pilot Pebble Bed Nuclear Reactor (PBMR),
investors will be repaid through extensive deployment of nuclear technologies.
Nuclear generators will be established in existing industrial and already polluted areas like Newcastle, Richards Bay and Durban South as well as areas not connected to the national electricity grid. Would you feel safe with a nuclear power plant near your residence? Have you been consulted about this very real possibility? (Studies have started for at least 40 possible nuclear sites in S.A.)
Facts about the detrimental effects of nuclear proliferation include :
1. Fuel and waste transport is hazardous;
2. Nuclear industries routinely emit radioactive gas and dust;
3. Contaminated radioactive scrap metal will be recycled into general circulation;
4. Disposal of hot toxic plutonium waste has never been approved anywhere in the world yet it remains extremely dan gerous for hundreds of thousands of years;
5. Nuclear fission procedures require vast capital expenditure and engineering complexity - only a few specialized jobs can be created, using overseas experts, while electricity tariffs increase.
6. There are limited local resources and experience to deal with any nuclear disaster.
7. Nuclear processes could become terrorist targets.
Earthlife Africa has called on President Mbeki to halt the PBMR experiment. The Nuclear Energy Costs the Earth campaign has also launched a petition to redirect public funds away from nuclear generation and into renewable energy developments.
eThekwini Municipality unanimously passed the local green party, eThekwini ECOPEACE, proposal that the Minister of Minerals and Energy halt transport of uranium through Durban until there is prior notice of shipments, adequate safety protocols and insurance cover for accidents. This has not happened even though Durban Emergency Services have no record of shipments, have only one radiation meter and two general purpose hazard suits.
Help offer some sane alternatives to the situation regarding the nearly approved pilot PBMR at the KZN-Clean Energy Coalition meeting on Saturday 25 May, 14h00 - 16h00 in the BAT Centre Functions Room.
- Clean Energy Coalition Statement on the PBMR EIA - 23 May 2002
The recent return of the remains of Sarah Bartman to South Africa was rightly hailed as a significant step in addressing hundreds of years of oppression. Unfortunately there are many who continue to suffer the injustice of environmental apartheid. The ultimate symbols of that discrimination, Koeberg and Pelindaba still remain. They were used to create the weapons of mass destruction that were aimed at the indigenous populations of South and Southern Africa.
From the very beginning, Eskom and the PBMR protagonists have claimed that the only reason that this nuclear technology was abandoned in Germany was public sentiment. Their arrogance in dismissing such sentiment here smacks of the racist attitudes of the past. South Africas ignorant, misinformed public is irrational if it agrees with the well-educated opinions of advantaged Europeans.
South Africas public needs to be fully informed about Eskoms nuclear commitments. Eskom has agreed to buy the first 10 PBMRs. We demand to know the details of this contract. We demand to know Eskoms nuclear plans for Durban, Richards Bay, Newcastle and the rest of Kwa-Zulu Natal. We note that these communities were not informed during the PBMR Scoping phase of the very real possibility of the installation of a nuclear power plant near their residences. We demand to know the 40 possible nuclear sites in South Africa, the results of a study commissioned by Eskom. We demand to see the PBMRs Detailed Feasibility Study, that was rejected by a specialist team that found neither economic nor technical feasibility for the project.
When asked, Where are the preliminary results of research and development studies that show that the assumptions and modelling of some of these (nuclear) options should be validated through a (PBMR) demonstration or pilot plant? The answer given was, These are contained at Eskom Research, Development and Demonstration Division. We demand to see this report. We demand to see Eskoms Integrated Strategic Electricity Plan (ISEP), which Eskom claims supports their nuclear program. We demand that all other relevant information be made public as requested in 6.3.2 of the Information Document Volume 2.
When it was noted that the Electricity Industry is a State Monopoly: the response given was, The bearing of the statement on the specific application is open to interpretation and the EIA Consortium will refrain from this. This is an example of the kind of statement/comment which the EIA Consortium chose not to respond to, which made I&APs feel ignored or selectively treated. But the PBMR consortium also stated that the project is not financed with public (state) money. However the White paper on Energy states that, The electricity industry is an effective state monopoly, as is the nuclear industry. The fact is that Eskom has a single shareholder, the South African government. The fact is that Eskom has a 30% share in the PBMR project and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has a 25% share. The IDC is 100% publically funded, this means the PBMR project is at least 55% state backed. All we can now ask is how the hell can we believe you? If the PBMR consortium can resort the outright lies yet the Department of Environment and Tourism still allows the EIA process to continue, how can South Africas communities have any confidence in this process?
eThekwini Municipality unanimously passed the local green party, eThekwini ECOPEACE, proposal that the Minister of Minerals and Energy halt transport of Uranium through Durban until there is prior notice of shipments, adequate safety protocols and insurance cover for accidents. This has not happened even though Durban Emergency Services have no record of shipments, have only one radiation meter and two general purpose hazard suits.
about the detrimental effects of nuclear proliferation include:
1. Fuel and waste transport is hazardous;
2. No nuclear process can be entirely safe, there is always a chance of any thing from a small to a disastrous incident occurring;
3. Nuclear industries routinely emit radioactive gas and dust;
4. Contaminated radioactive scrap metal will be recycled into general circulation;
5. Disposal of hot toxic plutonium waste is problematic and has not been approved, yet it remains extremely dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years;
6. Nuclear fission procedures require vast capital expenditure and engineering complexity - only a few permanent specialized jobs can be created, using overseas experts, while electricity tariffs increase;
7. There are limited local resources and experience to deal with any nuclear disaster;
8. Nuclear fuels or wastes can be used in weapons;
9. Nuclear processes are terrorist targets;
10. PBMR investors will have to be repaid by extensive deployment of nuclear technologies;
11. State money that could promote renewable energy is going into Eskoms nuclear program.
Using non-polluting economical wind, wave and solar power sources creates many unskilled and semi-skilled jobs and decreases electricity costs.
We support the Nuclear Energy Costs the Earth campaigns petition to redirect public funds away from nuclear generation and into renewable energy developments.
We support Earthlife Africas call on President Mbeki to halt the PBMR experiment.
Residents refuse to move for new road - Council accused of back-door tactics - FAROOK KHAN Daily News Thursday 20 January 2005
2004 National & Provincial ELECTIONS - News Release 16/03/04
The Struggle Against Corporate Globalisation - Mandisa Mbali (TAC UND) December 2003
WORLDS LARGEST HUMAN PEACE SIGN - ECOPEACE - 03/03/03
P E A C E V I G I L - an initiative of World Conference on Religion & Peace on behalf of all people who believe in peace - Please pass the message on
PEACE - ANTI-WAR - ANTI-INVASION - News Release January 2003
|APARTHEID STILL POLLUTES; APARTHEID STILL LIVES; APARTHEID STILL KILLS - SOUTH DURBAN BASIN MULTIPOINT PLAN - QUARTERLY FEEDBACK MEETING - NEWS RELEASE - 23/10/02|
POVERTY IS VIOLENCE - NEW HOPE PROJECT - NEWS RELEASE November 2003
Poverty is violenceECOPEACE agrees with eSF, PSC and TIP that the insidious methods of the international lending institutions are spreading poverty in the name of profit. Calculated well-orchestrated poverty inducing policies and conditionality clauses by these cold hearted institutions are nothing less than violence and should be seen as such. We fully support the "poverty is violence" campaign and will educate people against policies that bear nice sounding names like poverty reduction, structural adjustment and cost recovery - these are just other names for poverty and death. Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and numerous other countries in Africa Asia and South America bear mute testimony to the wiles and rapacious appetites of the international money mongers. Become a part of the solution by spreading the message and joining our campaign against poverty. Call us or reply to this email and forward this email as much as you can. "silence is complicity"|
ANTI-McDONADS DAY PROTEST - NEWS RELEASE October 2002
ECOPEACE is proud to announce the success of their; Ban G.E. - Boycott
USA protest. This was held on global AntI-McDonalds Day - Wednesday 16
October 2002. This was also UN Food Security Day - celebrated worldwide.
The issues highlighted by ECOPEACE members were:
Ban G.E. (genetic engineering);
McDonalds exploit children, their workers and the environment;
Be Proudly South African; Boycott USA goods, services and entertainment;
World Peace Now; Stop War.People from all walks of life joined in. Protestors dressed up which made for a colourful event. The public now realize that eThekwini ECOPEACE is a force to be reckoned with said Karen Read, South Africa's only green councillor. Anti - G.E. and pro-peace street theatre was performed outside the American Consulate in Durban.
A letter to President Bush was handed over to Mr. Humphreys, the USA consulate representative.
ON UN FOOD SECURITY DAY TO PRESIDENT BUSH
Dear President Bush,
We (eThekwini ECOPEACE) would like to voice our concerns about current US policies.
Like you, we also want World Peace now. Please sort out your recession without aggression - we know that historically countries in recession tend to create war. By cleaning up the environment you would create jobs and health. This equals a safe future for all.
Like you, we are concerned with the declining health of American citizens and others who adopt a "fast-food" lifestyle. Please suspend Genetic Engineering until it is proven safe beyond doubt - it has the potential to destroy people of the world and our natural environment.
Please sign the Kyoto Treaty. Global Warming is destroying our planet and dirty incinerator technologies are killing our people. We support any efforts to hold governments and businesses ethically accountable.
Spend the US military budget on eradicating global poverty and restoring nature. Then the USA would truly be a world leader, and you would have assured the safety of us all, and generations to come.
Councillor Karen Read
|The Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology's Biotechnology Strategy for South Africa - News Release November 2001|
following have been neglected in the process of forming the strategy -
Proper application of the precautionary principle
Consideration of the consequences of the polluter pays principle
Adequate experimental protocols including informed public consent
Complete and prior deliberation of all ethical issues.
Instead the strategy endorses fully committed uncritical support of Genetic Engineering; it is prejudicial to the precautionary approach in the use of that technology in view of its health, environmental and economic risks. Any strategy involving Genetic Engineering should first rigorously establish the need for and desirability of that technology. This has not been done. No justification is given for the supposition that Genetic Engineering will provide a competitive advantage for all biotechnology, This is merely an unsubstantiated assumption. The supposed benefits to be derived from Genetic Engineering are used as an excuse to limit personal and environmental rights while subsidising corporate profits.
Genetic Engineering is a threat since interspecies gene transfer can rearrange genetic material in totally unpredictable ways. Genetic Engineering could cause unprecedented problems in health and nutrition, irreparable harm to our environment and sabotage our economy. The appalling statement in the strategy document that the protection of the citizens and environment of South Africa by conventions and treaties is avoidable in the search for Genetic Engineering profits clearly shows the redundancy of the strategy and the illegitimate ineptitude of its authors.
Genetic Engineering poses a severe threat to food security. The idea of using these techniques to interfere with our food because of an unbalanced diet is treating the symptoms and not the causes. If key vitamins and amino acids are low in the diet of many South African households then the costs, risks and benefits of other strategies to counter this must be evaluated first before naively and wholeheartedly embracing Genetic Engineering.
So far the risks to health and the environment from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have not been properly managed; Constitutional rights to safety, to choice and to information have been subverted and international regulatory treaties ignored. The presence of Genetically Engineered crops in South Africa is in total contradiction to any proper application of the precautionary principle. It is crucial that South Africa takes a cautionary stance since it is seen as a leader in Africa. The present trials on Genetically Engineered crops and lack of labelling of foodstuffs obtained from them amounts to unscientific testing on unwitting human subjects, it is criminal negligence. The Bill of Rights states that everyone has the right not to be subjected to medical or scientific experiments without their consent.
The non-precautionary approach of introducing Genetically Engineered (GE) crops into South Africa has the potential for disastrous economic consequences. There is no guarantee of separation of GE and non-GE products; the promotion of GE technologies will undermine the alternative markets for non-GE products. Namibia, Zimbabwe and Europe have properly adopted the precautionary approach. Canada now has to rethink its uncritical acceptance of Genetic Engineering.
Genetic Engineering may improve the profits of certain large multinationals, but the claimed benefits are inevitably lacking, and instead other dangers are presented. It is the responsibility of those who seek to develop biotechnology products or services to prove that they do not pose any threat. Presently service providers cannot inform consumers and users adequately and accurately of the risks, both short-term and long-term of Genetic Engineering. Firstly neither the short nor the long term risks have been accurately or adequately assessed, and secondly due to contamination it is not possible to know who are all the consumers and users.
Subsidisation of the Genetic Engineering sector is unjustified and inappropriate. Government subsidisation and public funding without full analysis and comparisons are totally unwarranted. In any case research and resulting products of processes funded publicly and conducted in the public domain (educational institution) should remain in the public domain and not be patented for private profit.
Comprehensive cost-benefit analysis and impact assessments must be concluded to compare Genetic Engineering to other procedures. Organic farming and other permaculture techniques are environmentally friendly, do not use expensive chemicals, and are more acceptable especially to export markets. Plans for a Zulu Trade Port centred on the proposed Shaka International airport at la Mercy include the rapid export of many agricultural commodities. Supporting and promoting Genetic Engineering will endanger this lucrative market.
The strategy document implies that simple [contains GMO / GMO-free] labelling cannot be implemented because of low literacy levels. Again this shows the partisan nature of the document and its authors. General literacy levels of the South African population have not stopped the present food labelling which includes many chemical agents. What further implication of literacy levels are there specifically for [contains GMO / GMO-free] labelling?
The emphasis of the strategy document in dealing with HIV/AIDS through vaccine and pharmaceuticals can be counter productive considering those previously mentioned literacy levels of the general population. With any preventable disease such as HIV/AIDS the most urgent priority must be a comprehensive prevention approach. To misplace this priority to pharmaceuticals is to make profits from harm and suffering. Effective and safe HIV/AIDS vaccines although desirable are not necessarily attainable, therefore research in this area can only form part of the complete response, it is irresponsible of the strategy document writers to describe it as the most urgent priority. Prevention is better than cure and promoting ethical behaviour between sexual partners is of paramount importance in any prevention procedure. It is hypocritical to use literacy as an argument against GMO labelling but ignore it in HIV/AIDS research.
Urgent concerns have been raised about the Genetically Modified Organisms Act and Regulations. The precautionary principle has been subverted. There was insufficient public participation, and what input was given was ignored. Proper provisions are not made for liability and responsibility or the principle of "the polluter pays" when there is genetic contamination. The fact that certain GMOs are in regular use in South Africa without testing and experimental protocols is an indictment on the laxity of the Ethics Council and National Bioethics Committee. It is the Governments responsibility to deal completely with the full range of ethical considerations raised by biotechnology and Genetic Engineering, to enforce without prejudice the proper uses of the precautionary principle, and to determine stringent protocols for the testing of biotechnology and Genetic Engineering regimes. These processes are of fundamental and primary concern in any biotechnology and Genetic Engineering strategies, and until complete the financial, technological and capacity concerns are irrelevant.
Gene transfer as in Genetic Engineering cannot occur in nature, this clearly unnatural interference is a serious threat to biodiversity, and ecological sustainability. Genetic Engineering challenges our ethical value system, it should be judiciously and selectively avoided. Especially distressing is the bypassing of rigorous scientific evaluation in favour of quick financial gains. Arguments against Genetic Engineering are not restricted to it being unnatural. Patenting of life-giving forms must be fully debated with due consideration of all ethical, economic and cultural considerations. Any approach to Genetic Engineering must be determined through thorough public participation and rigorous debate of all relevant and related issues. This must be an unbiased, critical approach that does not prejudice any views opposed to Genetic Engineering.
Opposition to naive support for Genetic Engineering is not a matter of misunderstanding or a lack of knowledge of the work of biotechnologists. If someone is opposed to Genetic Engineering, this does not mean that they lack appreciation of the scientific basis underlying the issues. Opposition to unconsidered acceptance of Genetic Engineering is due to the realisation of its substantial dangers and an understandable objection to being used as unwilling guinea-pigs to increase company profits.
It is absolutely unacceptable that the strategy document's "expert" panel only interviewed the Safe-Age campaign to represent public opinion. That this was apparently only a four-minute telephone call reduces public participation in this process to virtually nil and renders the strategy document invalid.Zero public engagement in draughting the strategy document is completely inadequate.
The document is fatally flawed and further public discussions will not redeem it.
The document must be redrawn or withdrawn.