anti water privatisation struggles in South Africa

Water Workers Strike, Arrested with Filmmakers

On September 6, workers from Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (WSSA) striked the Zandvliet water and sanitation plant in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. Thirty workers, members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU), joined labor action against the company spreading across South Africa. WSSA is the South African subsidiary of Suez Lyonnaise, a multinational corporation based in France. The privatization of water was a concern of civil society at the WSSD, and an ongoing problem in South Africa.

As the strike began, the workers were confronted and threatened with arrest by four truckloads of police with drawn guns. The following day, four filmmakers with the Italy nd NYC IMCs documenting the strike were briefly detained and released by police at the facility.

Subsequently, the plant's gates were locked and the filmmakers broke through to escape arrest. After this, the workers were all arrested. On September 8, three of the filmmakers were arrested while brining food to arrested workers. Those detained are planning to file charges against the police for unlawful arrest.

The strikers are supported by the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), who were interdicted in June by five large South African banks that own real estate. Max Ntanyana, a WSSA union organiser and Mandela Park AEC activist was among the arrested, and community members are concerned that he will be kept in jail as retribution. On Monday morning, over 100 members of the AEC protested in solidarity at the Somerset West Courthouse in Cape Town. More information is available in the June 29 feature about the AEC, and at the Italy IMC feature Rilasciati mediattivisti arrestati a cittá del capó.

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