Saturday, May 10

Water Wars

Well, the South African Constitution says this.

Section 27(1) of the constitution says: “Everyone has the right to have access to ... sufficient food and water.”

Section 27(2) says the state must “take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of these rights”.

Ok, so everybody has a right to food and water. Now, does that mean free water? As I have said so many times before, there is nothing free in the world. Somebody has to pay. So the South African High Court has ruled that the state has to pay for a basic provision of water to everybody. See here for more details.

Now, where do we get the money from? General taxation? so why would the poor pay for the rich? Remember that payments for services out of general taxation are disproportionately and comparatively bad on poor people. It is like the child benefit that is given to every child in the UK. Its about 20 pounds of so. So think about it, this money is taken from the general taxation pot. So even I, who is a higher rate taxpayer, gets this 20 pounds for my children. Now I can afford to pay for my children myself. But because it comes out of general taxation, the vast majority of the poor end up paying in general taxation and then getting a wee bit in return. So paying for core services from general taxation is not that hyper efficient... Here are some good options on it.

Check out what happened here. This is indeed quite a curious decision and goes to show that when politicians say things like "right to jobs, or water, or or or", well, when rights are given, then ability to protect and provide those rights should also follow. Otherwise, its just words...

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