Title page for ETD etd-11062008-170236

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Mobie, Titus Risimati
Email mobbie@epcsa.co.za
URN etd-11062008-170236
Document Title The impact of privatization of water system towards the poor. A challenge to pastoral care with special reference to the rural communities of Bushbuckridge
Degree PhD
Department Practical Theology
Advisor Name Title
Prof M J S Masango Supervisor
  • water system
  • rural communities
  • pastoral care
  • humanity
  • water
  • Bushbuckridge
Date 2008-09-04
Availability unrestricted

The dissertation focuses on water, which has become the focal point of global debate today among nations. This is due to ever-increasing population and the insatiable consumer demands that the market makes on humanity, putting heavy stress on natural resources, especially water.

Since the 1980s, rich countries and the institutions they control, i.e. the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been forcing poor countries to implement policies and sign agreements that do them more harm than good (i.e. privatization of state assets such as water).

The debt crisis drove many poor countries into structural adjustment programs as a condition for receiving IMF and World Bank aid. These programs, under various names, contain policies that compel vulnerable countries to expose their social services to competition with big profit making corporations.

Through persuasion, threats, bullying and conditions attached to loans and aid, poor countries have been forced to:

  • Open their markets in order to subsidize exports from rich countries.
  • Stop prioritising domestic producers.
  • Divert development efforts away from local food markets, and
  • Privatize essential services such as water system, electricity etc.

These debt relief conditions and trade agreements are focused solely on making profit and not on improving the livelihood and welfare of the poor. The theory that the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO put forward is that increased trade will automatically be equal to improved welfare. This equality has not worked in practice as Raj Patel in a more or harsher description, that structural adjustment and other trade related policies could also be seen as a “weapon of mass destruction” (Znet, November 28, 2000).

The author concurs with Patel’s view, as according to UNICEF, over 500,000 children under the age of five died each year in Africa and Latin America in the late 1980s as a direct result of the debt crisis and its management under the International Monetary Fund’s structural adjustments programs. These programs required the abolition of price supports on essential food-stuffs, steed reductions in spending on health, education, and other social services, and increases in taxes. The debt crisis has never been resolved for much of Sub-Saharan Africa. Extrapolating from the UNICEF data, as many as 5,000,000 children and vulnerable adults may have lost their lives in this blighted continent as a result of the debt crunch (World Policy Journal, Volume XIX, No.4, Winter 2002/03).

Privatization and commodification of water system is the order of the day in many developing countries. It has raised survival issues for the poor and the marginalized, causing problems such as scarcity of safe drinking water, pollution of water and soil, and destruction of agricultural sectors in other parts of developing countries.

This dissertation emphasizes that all people have internationally accepted rights to water “all peoples, whatever their stage of development and their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to drinking water in quantities and of a quality equal to their basic needs” (United Nations 1977). This right is being violated for millions of people around the globe, particularly in developing countries such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This dissertation reminds the church leadership, members of faith communities and all relevant stakeholders of their responsibilities to God-given gift of water. Both the Old and New Testament understanding of justice as taking the side of the poor and oppressed, and also seeking to compel us to action, i.e. to address the exploitative and oppressive systems that seek to hold the poor and their oppressive structures. We are inspired to strive for justice, each in our own place and according to our separate gifts. We are called to the struggle to make trade a means of sharing the bounty of the earth and the fruits of human labor, and to ensure that people’s rights to water is fully respected.

The dissertation emphasizes that “water” is the source of life, a gift of nature and that it belongs to all living beings and the rest of creation. God who is the creator gives this right to everyone. It is not a private property but a common resource for the sustenance of all members of plant and animal kingdoms.

©University of Pretoria 2008

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  00front.pdf 87.14 Kb 00:00:24 00:00:12 00:00:10 00:00:05 < 00:00:01
  01chapter1.pdf 198.94 Kb 00:00:55 00:00:28 00:00:24 00:00:12 00:00:01
  02chapter2.pdf 234.07 Kb 00:01:05 00:00:33 00:00:29 00:00:14 00:00:01
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  05chapters5-6.pdf 110.32 Kb 00:00:30 00:00:15 00:00:13 00:00:06 < 00:00:01
  06back.pdf 602.84 Kb 00:02:47 00:01:26 00:01:15 00:00:37 00:00:03

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