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Basic infrastructure for socio-economic development, environmental protection and geographical desegregation: South Africa's unmet challenge
Patrick Bond 1
Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Graduate School of Public & Development Management, University of the Witwatersrand, PO Box 601, Wits 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa Received 3 March 1998; in revised form 26 October 1998
Abstract How much basic infrastructure investment ± water and sanitation systems, new electricity lines, roads, stormwater drainage, and other services provided at municipal level ± can South African society aord? What levels and types of subsidies for recurrent operating and maintenance costs assure that low-income people can meet their basic infrastructural service needs? These questions continue to bedevil policy makers. One reason is their failure to integrate into investment decision-making some basic aspects of socio-economic cost±bene®t analysis, covering a variety of direct, indirect, developmental, ecological and geographical factors. The direct economic bene®ts of infrastructure for low-income people have long been recognised, and include construction jobs, improvements in work productivity; and the growth of small enterprises. Indirect bene®ts include more time and resources for women; dramatic environmental bene®ts, public health bene®ts (which require infrastructure of a sucient quality so as to enhance rather than endanger health), and the desegregation of urban society (with respect to enhanced employment, educational and cultural opportunities). While there are often costs associated with large, new basic-infrastructure programmes, the bene®ts justify increased investment. If subsidies and taris are restructured to assure entitlement (``lifeline'') provision to all South Africans, plus rising block taris for higher use of resources, it appears possible to signi®cantly augment what the government is presently suggesting as a minimum set of investment and service provision in its Municipal Infrastructure Investment Framework. Ó 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Urban infrastructure; Development; South Africa; Financing; Urban policy
1. Introduction At the end of the 1990s, it is ®nally fashionable to discuss public policy transcendent of a ``Washington Consensus'' ± the hegemonic, neo-liberal macroeconomic policy associated with the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, US Treasury Department, Federal Reserve Board and allied think-tanks ± which for two decades has had such an uneven eect on capital accumulation, the human condition and the environment across the globe. But if because of the 1997±98 crash of East Asia, Russia and some of Latin America macroeconomic orthodoxy is now thoroughly discredited (Stiglitz, 1998), and if in the wake of the Long Term Capital Management disaster, even Nobel Prize-winning economic models are in disrepute, the cost-recovery in-
stincts associated with neo-liberal service delivery ± an ``urban Washington Consensus'' that has been more rigidly applied by Pretoria than by the World Bank (1994) itself ± nevertheless, remain a signi®cant deterrent to social progress. This article considers some of the main concepts, intellectual arguments and policy options that should ± but, in South Africa at present, do not yet ± inform ocial decisions (as well as academic research) about infrastructure and service delivery. The focus is on how, through national programmes and cross-subsidies that diverge from microeconomic orthodoxy, the democratic government's socio-economic, ecological and spatial responsibilities can be met in the course of expanding the quality and quantity of basic services to low-income residents. The style of argumentation combines what Harvey (1996, Ch. 13) refers to as ``ecological modernisation'' and ``environmental justice'' discourses: respectively, expanded cost±bene®t analyses and concern
0016-7185/99/$ ± see front matter Ó 1999 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. PII: S 0 0 1 6 - 7 1 8 5 ( 9 8 ) 0 0 0 3 1 - 1
more generally. and only 37% have their refuse removed by a local authority (Department of Public Works. These constitutional obligations parallel the political promises made by the ANC in its Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) a 157-page document which became the policy platform upon which the ANC won the 1994 campaign. The article concludes that there is a need for larger infrastructure and service subsidies in the form of redistributive taris. Section 153).8). only 38% of ``African'' households have access to electricity for cooking. 1994. the rationale for such a system ± based upon national tari reform emphasising crosssubsidies (using national and provincial resources. Indeed in South Africa. 1996) contains guarantees of socio-economic rights in addition to general municipal ``developmental duties'': the municipality must ``give priority to the basic needs of the community. women are the primary care-givers and homemakers. and re- minds us of the urgency. the arguments presented relate directly to South African policy debates but are of a more general character. Only 27% of African households have running tap water inside their residences. health care. as elsewhere in the developing world. cross-subsidies and lifeline services to the poor with respect to both water (including sanitation) and electricity. By way of background. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 for the human ``brown'' (not just ecological ``green'') character of development.7. South Africa's new constitution (Constitutional Assembly. regulation and pricing. not just local) and lifeline taris for low-income consumers ± would be not only to meet constitutional responsibilities. as spelled out in the Bill of Rights (Constitutional Assembly. The conclusion suggests ways in which a dierent set of policy-makers ± with social±democratic and socialist rather than neo-liberal proclivities ± might. and initially represented a crucial political mandate. in part by recognising the myriad developmental bene®ts that ¯ow from infrastructure and services. cut-os of services to hundreds of thousands of residential users due to non-payment of (increased) municipal service charges. heating or lighting (while nearly all ``coloured''. The context in which this article was drafted in 1997± 98 included not only the persistence of such formidable backlogs. 1996. dignity. evaluates environmental issues and public health bene®ts associated with infrastructure and services. The goal. and to promote the social and economic development of the community. 1996. and to participate in national and provincial development programmes'' (Constitutional Assembly. 2). obtain developmental rewards through expanding infrastructure and service delivery. at the national level. and an upsurge in township social unrest in many of South Africa's major urban centres (Barchiesi. to provide a decisive policy on infrastructure/services which combines constitutional responsibilities with an eective. As shown below. only 34% have access to ¯ush toilets. a clean environment.6. but depends upon political struggle and a sense of citizens' entitlement ± entirely justi®ed ± to basic service delivery. as well as a more state-driven and community-controlled (nonmarket) application of housing and land reform subsidies to ®nance deeper levels of capital infrastructure than those that have actually been implemented since (African National Congress. forced upon South Africa by international ®nancial turbulence in 1996). that standards of infrastructure investment should be much higher so as to realise socioeconomic and ecological bene®ts. discusses economic multipliers associated with infrastructure and services. so as to eventually achieve equal levels of service delivery standards across residential areas. and oers remarks on subsidies and taris. there should be more ambitious state and community roles in infrastructure investment and services provision. 1997). Employment and Redistribution. Sections 2. 1998. in future. South Africa is the second largest unequal country in the world (after Brazil). Bond. In an expansive reading. 1999b). municipalities should seek to ensure that citizens receive access to services that have been historically denied them. but also to gain additional public health. and hence the bene®ts of infrastructure . In this respect. The income share of the top 20% of the population exceeds 60% while the poorest 20% of the population earns only 3% of the national income. This is not infeasible. and that in the light of the ``public good'' characteristics of infrastructure-related services. But using orthodox cost-recovery techniques to sell water and electricity to lowincome households will result in only a marginal improvement in these ®gures.44 P. particularly women and children. Ch. the article considers shortcomings in the government's new municipal infrastructure policy. at least in the short. Rural African women are most aected by such backlogs. Such a system would also serve as an alternative means of achieving economic growth to the failed neo-liberal model. This unrest has the potential to spread and intensify.and mediumterm until the vast backlogs are met. In the context of a new constitution and a strong political mandate for the African National Congress (1994) government. The RDP speci®ed the need for infrastructure-related tari restructuring.10 and 2. ``Indian'' and ``white'' households have access to electricity). environmental and economic bene®ts to all of society. because of apartheid and the extremely skewed legacy of economic development. Unique amongst modern states. but a tightening of ®scal constraints associated with a homegrown structural adjustment policy (the misnomered Growth. Roughly. is to progressively ensure that citizens can exercise their rights of access to water. housing and. redistributive system that can adequately subsidise lowincome residents.
With respect. the larger-than-anticipated number of people likely to be adversely aected. as exists in formerly white areas). ± will be on oer to the estimated 20% of urban residents who have anticipated real monthly incomes of R800 (US $150 in 1998) and below. World Bank advisory teams and conservative local consultants (often emanating from big business or apartheid-era think-tanks) recommended contrary approaches to those of the RDP. with some developed extensively in the rest of the article. In each case. 1997) and land reform (Williams. 5±8 Amp electricity supply (not 20 or 60 Amp. is a relatively low cost and eective form of public intervention in favour of the poor and consistent with the reduction of income inequalities (Department of Finance. Like policies for low-cost housing (Bond and Tait. 1992. 1996. MIIF's insucient cross-subsidy provisions. eectively downgrading the status of the RDP. together with improved maintenance and operation of public assets.) The basic service levels contemplated in the MIIF are not merely emergency services (piped water or portable toilets in slum settlements that are without water or hygienic facilities at present) but represent. and likewise the burden of inadequate standards of infrastructure also fall upon women (Bassett et al. namely a system of lifeline taris and progressive block tari cross-subsidisation. in rhetoric at least. time spent walking from place to place because road conditions are not amenable for public or private transport. 2. 1999a).. 1997). The prospect of vast. in particular. However. the South African government adopted a de¯ationary macroeconomic strategy in June 1996. (While recognising this problem. Bond. Ironically. and time spent on other tasks that could otherwise be directed elsewhere if proper infrastructure was in place. Post-apartheid infrastructure policy One result of conservative policy drift. 1995. It is extremely dicult to incrementally upgrade infrastructure. and MIIF's dismissal of the main means of resolving many of these problems. the MIIF entails a relatively permanent class segregation policy ± with all the consequent economic ineciencies ± in the form of new. 1996).. yard taps (not inside the house). Yet the detailed infrastructural policies adopted since 1994 bear little relation to the promises made.. particularly sanitation systems. an overarching commitment to dramatic increases in infrastructure spending. relating to time spent in water queues. cost-recovery provisions. 1999b). there are several aspects to women's utilisation of time that can be enhanced by infrastructure investments and service delivery. the lowest common denominator for municipal investment ± pit latrines (not waterborne sanitation). Each aspect is brie¯y considered next. time spent gathering fuelwood and making ®res. the implications of such failure for understanding returns on investment. their implications for neo-apartheid class segregation.P. to excessively low (``basic'' in MIIF terminology) standards. which as shown below have the eect of denying people basic access in a sustainable manner. The strategy promised reduction of the state's annual budget de®cit to 3% of Gross Domestic Product. infrastructure policy also relies excessively on market-oriented. 1996). such advice prevailed (Bond. As also discussed in more detail below. Given the balance of forces in society and the weak state of social movement and trade union advocacy. more fundamentally. Section 7. in part based on a legacy of concern about neo-liberal World Bank urban policy advice to South Africa (Bond and Swilling.. etc. The provision of basic household infrastructure. Esrey. Such a critique highlights the MIIF's low services standards.1). and to 90% of rural residents. MIIF does nothing to counteract it in part because the costs associated with neo-apartheid geography have not been calculated nor factored in. These are considered excessively low given South Africa's ``upper middle-income'' standard of living (of roughly US $3000 per capita annual income in purchasing power parity terms). untarred roads. in the wake of the ANC's dramatic 63% electoral victory in 1994. perhaps. ®rst. neo-apartheid ghettoes is heightened by MIIF's inaccurate (extremely optimistic) . the Department of Constitutional Development's Municipal Infra- structure Investment Framework (MIIF) ± a ten-year plan for infrastructure and service delivery released in 1997 but originally drafted in late 1994 by a World Bank team working with local consultants ± has been criticised at a detailed level elsewhere (Bond et al. 1992. As discussed below. but on the contrary committed to its increase: This strategy envisages a substantial acceleration in government investment spending. under circumstances of ®nancial panic associated with an unanticipated 20% drop in the currency during February±May 1996. Thus the South African government retained. post-apartheid ghettoes where it will be physically impossible or excessively costly to upgrade from ``basic'' to full services. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 45 and service delivery are disproportionately felt by women. MIIF's failure to factor in positive externalities when designing service standards and subsidies. the strategy did not intend to cut back on infrastructure expenditure. no stormwater drainage. development policy that will be in place for at least a decade. resulting in permanently segregated low-income ghettoes (from which households that raise their real earnings to above R800 per month will have to emigrate in order to gain access to improved infrastructure and services). from pit latrines to waterborne sewage.
costs. Such an amount could cover sucient services ± according to the RDP. ``an on-site supply of 50±60 litres per capita per day of clean water'' (African National Congress. however. for example) is often futile or too expensive administratively. mining and agricultural bulk users of water and electricity. environmental problems associated with the proposed standards. this article indicates the extensive bene®ts of higher standards of infrastructure investment and service delivery. Coloured. hence. If such a proposal ± as noted. 1997). including residential neighbourhoods. skills and opportunities.g.46 P. Given that the immediate community is crucial as a shaping force for individuals' values. There is. to lowincome residential consumers. Indeed. Such a progressive block tari system. namely that the ``net economic return'' on infrastructure investments should incorporate not only the immediate ®nancial return ± the amount of cost recovery as a ratio of the amount invested ± but also other social bene®ts. Having failed to do so in the areas noted above. public health bene®ts of higher standards. externalities and multipliers.6. thereby contributing to conservation goals. funding which has declined in real terms by 85% since 1991) (Financial and Fiscal Commission. and suf®cient electricity to cover the minimal energy requirements associated with essential lighting. Schapera. The main investment implications are important to note at this stage. Apart from the question of political acceptability. 1928). as well as reducing segregation of people according to their income class. consistent with the RDP ± had been considered and adopted. Instead. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 calculation of the low-income population ± by at least a factor of 100% ± in the form of projections that (in real terms) only around 20% of urban households will earn less than R800 per month within ten years. 1995. 1994. and the possibility of a national cross-subsidy system. The vast dierence in use patterns ± commercial farmers consume 52% of water. sewage lines . given the worsening unemployment situation and failure of the macroeconomic policy to meet most major economic performance targets (Bond. political and economic problems caused by apartheid segregation have been recognised for many decades (e. outsider'' social divisions emerging in a now-deracialised way along class lines. attitudes. by tolerating such segregation ± and indeed by cementing it through the MIIF income test (so that instead of along racial lines. for example. Robinson. the MIIF provides for low standards of infrastructure on grounds that these standards are the most that lowincome South Africans can aord to pay. aspirations. The actual percentage is certain to be far higher. By exploring in more detail various developmental characteristics of infrastructure and services. how externalities and multipliers can be calculated and incorporated into full economic (not merely ®nancial rate-ofreturn) costing. for instance. would also penalise excessive usage. Indian) people. Deepening South Africa's democratisation process will to a large extent depend upon breaking down geographical barriers faced by black (African. MIIF's low standards for such a large proportion of the population also re¯ected a failure to factor in potential microeconomic linkages. All such arguments justify a dierent approach than that ultimately adopted in the MIIF. the geographical and gender implications. the main reason that ``basic'' levels of service are being imposed upon the vast majority of the poor is the high level of recurrent costs of water and electricity. expectations. Social. Instead. A reminder of the negative geographical implications of the current policy is useful at this stage. Each of these issues will be considered in the following. heating and cooking (approximately 20 kWh per person per month) ± such that all South Africans attain a relatively decent standard of living regardless of their ability to pay. it would have been relatively easy to cross-subsidise from national-scale industrial. service-sector. it is important to guard against apartheid-era ``insider vs. MIIF emphasises cost recovery and ``limited'' local-level cross-subsidies (in the case of ``indigent'' households who must pass a means test to get access to the Intergovernmental Grant mechanism. in light of the failure to consider the broader economic returns to infrastructure investment. while black domestic use is less than 2% ± would allow a small marginal increase in taris for the large users to pay for a lifeline service at no cost to all other consumers. a need for more comprehensive ``block tari'' subsidies.7). Speci®cally.. the reason that the phrase ``limited'' is used in this context is because of the government's explicit refusal to consider (even as a policy option exercise) restructuring national taris so that substantial cross-subsidies can be obtained. for here it is evident that the bene®ts of desegregating South Africa's notoriously colour-coded class society and residential patterns are being denied in favour of maintaining white homeowners' property values. Section 2. Few citizens would deny that South Africa requires a qualitative shift towards the social integration of society. these costs prohibit low-income households from paying full cost-recovery rates for even a minimal monthly amount of these services. 1999a). and how infrastructure/services markets sometimes fail to deliver infrastructure of a sucient standard and aordable price to meet basic human needs ± hence requiring extensive state intervention. essentially providing an entitlement to all citizens. South Africa's majority is so poor ± especially in relation to the minority of luxury consumers who have never had to worry about access to full services ± that ``limited cross-subsidies'' are insucient and the exercise of recovering costs on collectively consumed services (a communal tap. In the absence of generous cross-subsidies.
a ®gure competitive with investment in labour-intensive manufacturing. literacy and productivity improvement are associated with access to infrastructure. and as a result. Secondly. and small business promotion. Likewise. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 47 become the mark of class-based residential area) ± municipal politicians and ocials both abdicate their responsibility to reunite sharply divided cities and towns. opening of night schools and access to audio visual aids. 1987). research on potential employment creation in infrastructure and housing is typically based upon both formal sector jobs (Merri®eld. 1995). 1993). 1994). as well as access to television. But by adding employment creation in the informal sector ± speci®cally. composition and location of infrastructure and housing so as to promote social and economic residential integration. Improved lighting and air quality (to the extent that the latter occurs) can also increase the quality of life of inhabitants and this has a . integration can diminish negative factors such as community-distrust and crime. there are three main types of multipliers associated with basic-needs infrastructure to be considered: construction-related job creation. Tucker and Scott. Firstly. Economic multipliers To consider. It enables children and adults to study at home and oers the opportunity for health promotion through the broadcast media such as television and radio. women in electri®ed areas place more emphasis on children's education than on children as productive agents.000) spent in the civil engineering sector. segregation prevents full and fair competition in an ecient and transparent labour market. The provision of high-quality infrastructure that retains sucient ¯exibility to allow upgrading of individual household standards is essential.P. 1993). bring about considerable improvements to the quality of the working environment of students and scholars. size. formal employment stimulated by infrastructure varies between 7 construction jobs for every million rand (US $170. Another reason to promote class residential integration through enhanced infrastructure investment and service delivery is to improve community ecology ± more greenery. more light. The use of electricity in a household can have several eects on the productivity of inhabitants. Firstly. is certainly enhanced through electri®cation. Education has been shown to directly aect a range of variables which. 1996). literacy and productivity enhancement. Higher levels of maternal education have a signi®cant impact on nutrition of children. The biggest gain to low-income residents from integration may indeed lie in the prevention of social disillusionment through provision of more chances for upward mobility. although dependent on other factors such as the number of people in the household and the number of rooms available. In sum. and physical spacing ± which in turn has environmental. an estimate of 50 jobs per million rand for informally constructed housing ± the average for all housing construction is raised to as high as 30 jobs for every million rand spent. 3. particularly for low-income job-seekers (Wilson. to 12 jobs per million rand in non-residential new construction. Electri®cation reduces population growth rates through altering social relationships and generating economic opportunities. 1961. Such high rates of job creation. Economic bene®ts of desegregation include education gains within an entire community in cases where some families ± typically from higher income classes ± within the immediate area invest in skills (Benabou. According to most accounts. next. Residential segregation has also been cited as a source of employment discrimination by employers (Neckermann and Kirschenmann. public health and social bene®ts. as is the involvement of many more residents in municipal planning than has ever happened before. improved child health and reduction in diarrhoea morbidity. An additional set of economic rationales for transcending the existing policy is discussed next. and have economic spinos (World Bank. in a context of more than 30% ocial unemployment. taken together. warrant a large increase in state expenditure in both the construction of infrastructure and in the cross-subsidisation of services to enhance basic consumption. to 23 jobs per million rand in public housing construction (Merri®eld. more fresh air. by ensuring that the broader fabric of the community is more tightly knit (Rakodi. 1990). the explicitly economic arguments. The ability to study at home. Community ecology also relates to what some have (controversially) termed a ``culture of poverty'' that exists within low-income ghettoes (Lewis. Female education has been shown to lower reproductive rates and improve childrearing practices and child-mortality rates. Electri®cation provides some of the essential prerequisites for education. In addition it generates the potential for longer schooldays. improved lighting. developmental municipal planning beyond the scope MIIF permits is required to direct the structure. contribute to the health status of domestic units and ultimately of the society. Women are particularly important bene®ciaries of such economic spinos. Moreover. 1996) and upon estimates of informal sector activity (Building Industries Federation of South Africa. There is a high rate of social return through investment in education and this rate of return is substantially higher for women than men. and forego the socio-economic bene®ts that come from integrated planning. 1992) which can also be combatted through class desegregation. such as lighting and opportunities for ecient administration.
and especially for the water-scarce Johannesburg metropolis (Mayekiso and Menu. but also for agricultural or income generation activities which could result in better family health. can reduce household water consumption by 18±23%) (Imiesa. as opposed to the 9±13 litres common in South Africa. conservation makes more sense than constantly building more dams to increase the supply of water. 1998). 1993a).b. the most prevalent method for supplying water in South Africa.5% if all those not yet receiving water-borne sanitation were to receive it.5 litres. in 1990 the total water supply would only have had to increase by 1. 1996a. especially given limits to the viability of further dam construction. Water-related issues are considered ®rst. Currently under-served households will not place any substantial burden on South Africa's water supply (Palmer and Eberhard. The element of time savings from improved infrastructure is also important. For enterprises involved in welding or carpentry. through a water pricing policy (to replace the existing system of riparian rights) catchment area management. Nevertheless. in terms of both SMMEs and the additional R800 million per year that will be spent on appliances from electri®cation (at existing rates of expansion). for example. 1997). By all accounts. meat and drinks for sale. Such access comes initially through home-based activities. 1989). and treatment.. and the additional households that are expected to be provided with new direct water supply would increase household water demand ± which itself is responsible for less than 15% of all water use ± by just 12% (Palmer Development Group. for a more comprehensive overview. the government's intention to deny water access ± by oering pit latrines instead of waterborne sanitation ± to low-income urban residents is short-sighted. 1993) and the installation of internal household water meters (rather than solely outside. there are obvious bene®ts from improved access to infrastructure. although nuances are important. to a single yard tap or small-voltage electricity meter) should also be seen as an investment in micro enterprises and Local Economic Development. Bond et al. since they may lead us ultimately to question the imposition of western-style norms and standards associated with ur- ban development. Environmental implications A variety of themes have emerged in infrastructure research related to South Africa's fragile ecology (see Himlin. 1999b). One study found that the cost of detecting and ®xing leaks were minimal compared to the savings in the cost of the recovered water over only seven months (Johannesburg City Engineer's Department. of 23 enterprises 21 required electrical refrigerators to store produce.000 were lost). The bene®ts of moving from very low electricity supplies (the basic 5±8 Amp for urban areas) to an intermediate 20 Amp supply are particularly large. Environmental issues related to electri®cation follow. 4. for example. drainage. disguised near the mains) so as to raise consumer (including company) consciousness and reduce water demand. given the need to operate appliances such as refrigerators and small motors.000 new jobs in 1996 according to the policy's claims. the importance of water drainage systems.48 P. At present it is envisioned that. between 10 and 20 new economic activities are started. it is true that there are negative environmental consequences of increased water supply and indeed of the relatively high infrastructure and service levels associated with the RDP. In most cases. 1997. higher levels of service (up to 30 A) are required (van Horen.000 were lost. water supplies in the form of yard standpipes for urban residents and taps only within 200 . and issues surrounding water quality treatment. 116. in the absence of conservation measures. Time savings due to the nearness and availability of an improved water source has been reported to lead to more time not only for child care. not employment creation (out of 126. Electrical fridges are often acquired by small traders to store drinks and perishable goods. Yet the hoped-for burgeoning of SMMEs may be hampered at the outset if access to water and electricity is not ensured. The bene®ts of electri®cation. are obvious. including breastfeeding and better food preparation. based on national resources allocated (regarding both capital and recurrent expenses) lowest-income households will receive a minimum package of a Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine. Recent Eskom experience suggests that for every 100 households which are connected to an electricity supply. 71. including optimal sewage service levels.000 new jobs in 1997. But according to one study. so a full supply of services to residences (not limited. 1991) ± and other demand-side management measures. the expansion of Small. To begin with water supply. particularly to women. There are very strong possibilities for reducing water demand in society. in one rural KwaZulu-Natal town. particularly with respect to dam construction. Other conservation techniques include more ecient appliances (toilets that ¯ush with 4. Thirdly. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 positive eect on their productivity in places of employment or income generation. out of 252. the negative environmental consequences associated with increased water supply. 1994). Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is crucial to South Africa because all other aspects of orthodox macroeconomic policy have led to massive job loss. and Bond. sewage. The special case of water for small-scale farming enterprises is also important (Bond. 1999b for an expanded argument). ®xing leaky supplies ± approximately 25% before it reaches the household (Rencken and Kerdachi.
such as in Cape Town. However. Groundwater and/or surface water contamination from pit latrines is virtually guaranteed. resource-deprived. if conditions are less than ideal. 1993a). In contrast. But while there exist conceptual problems and data limitations that prohibit an exhaustive analysis. Where there is rocky ground and/or ®ssures. Additionally. which is the excessive growth of algae and other plants at the expense of other aquatic life. in turn causing a typhoid epidemic in 1991. escape into groundwater. Of 59 wells and boreholes tested in Winterveld during the early 1990s. the major environmental hazards associated with low service standards ± and the bene®ts associated with improved standards ± can.P. In Winterveld. and open urban stormwater drainage (Department of Constitutional Development. Where the soil is excessively granular in character. in cases noted above. although sanitation may be improved due to VIP improvements in ¯y control and ventilation. The premise must be that well-managed water-borne systems will be adequately maintained and that leaks will be rapidly identi®ed and patched. Yet it is dicult to expect any dierences regarding ¯ooding. Advocates of VIPs argue that pollution created is generally contained on-site. . There are also health risks to humans (especially infants) consuming nitri®ed water. nevertheless. the failures of apartheid-era. be explored. and will also leach quickly into the groundwater (Fourie and van Ryneveld. depending upon soil conditions and methods of sludge treatment. yet the use of pit latrines by most residents has resulted in dangerous groundwater exposure to biological contaminants such as faecal coliform bacteria and salmonella. the pits may over¯ow. where pit over¯owing was described as ``continuous'' during heavy rains. and treatment works for dealing with sludge o-site. In all such cases. other organic material present in waste contaminates water supplies by encouraging the growth of bacteria. 1993b). leakage to the surface can be expected. Low-lying land in ¯oodplains presents another problem. Regarding sewerage. pit latrine pollutants could in fact be relatively concentrated due to high density levels in low-income urban settlements. with no controlled treatment possible. which means that even short-lived pollutants like viruses can leach into drinking water supplies or onto the surface. near Pretoria. conventional pit latrines. whereas leakage due to sewer-system failure is more concentrated and therefore poses more of a threat to the environment (Palmer Development Group. Contaminants from sewage are of two general types. Finally. along with the other contaminants. on-site sanitation systems do pose signi®cant risks to the spread of disease. and the practice of households adding sullage (washing water waste) into the VIP system. In sum. high bacterial counts were found in the river system (Palmer Development Group. over¯ow and groundwater leakage of VIPs. 1994). A water-borne system controls treatment of the sewage at a central location osite. There is no conclusive analysis of the environmental costs and bene®ts associated with particular sewerage and water service levels in South Africa. as in many residential areas of Natal. ¯ooding caused sewage from the pits in the ¯oodplain to ¯ow directly into the river. There is also a high variability of pollutant release by VIPs. In Botshabelo. with consequent risks to human health. on steep inclines. Regrettably. and treatment of this contamination is non-existent. which depletes the oxygen in the water (chemical oxygen demand) thereby killing other aquatic life (Palmer Development Group. The overriding issue is that the poor are often forced to locate on inferior and precarious land which makes for dicult provision of services and the risk of extreme environmental pollution. the South African government's elevation of the principle of aordability above other considerations in the provision of sanitation runs the risk of ignoring the high costs of pit latrine pollution in inappropriate geological conditions. 1995). exposing populations to direct sewage and polluting surface water. except in cases of sewer breakage. 1993c). Biological contaminants include pathogens in the form of bacteria and viruses. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 49 metres of rural homes. biological and chemical. 1997). Where the water table is high. only 12 were free of faecal coliform bacteria (Palmer Development Group. Such soil conditions pose problems for all VIP-related contaminants. water-borne sanitation is especially important for protecting the surrounding environment. for again in the case of Botshabelo. badly-managed township sewer systems should not now be assumed as characteristic of future urban or rural developments. 1995). the high water table allows boreholes to serve as a reliable source of drinking water. such as fractured bedrock or dolomite (as in much of Gauteng) swift lateral and vertical movement of pollutants from VIPs can be expected. which damage ecosystems through eutrophication. but rather with poorly constructed. Chemical contaminants (or nutrients) include nitrates and phosphates. Where soil is nonabsorbent. Pollutants can usually be better controlled by using a centralised treatment system. Municipalities are then given the responsibility of deriving the additional resources required to further improve standards in low-income areas. groundwater pollution due to pit latrines can be severe. VIPs rely on the soil on the site of the latrine to ®lter out contaminants from the water system. even most of the bacterial contaminants that are ®ltered out well by most soils. where people are directly exposed to the VIP sewage waste (Palmer Development Group. both major systems ± VIPs and water-borne sewage ± produce pollutants. It should be noted that many negative results observed in cases of pit latrines were not associated with VIPs.
and nutrients. organic silt. This involves containment areas for stormwater near the site of impact. which would also allow for water treatment of the polluted urban run-o. increasing the risk of ¯ash ¯ooding. A great deal of eort is required to deal with the after-effects of the pollutants in reservoirs. and other even more elaborate systems have been designed to ®lter pollution from urban water courses (Imiesa. In addition. often found in low-income black townships. Household rain catchment could be introduced to remove a portion of rain water from the sewer system. The costs of pollution control are justi®ed by the often greater costs of environmental damage and pollution clean-up. Open drains may also facilitate erosion in the vicinity of the channels. 1995). 1993). especially during periods of drought. disrupting the delicate balance of interdependence among species (Allanson. Enormous environmental destruction is occurring. The main principle of a better-integrated system is to slow down the movement of urban run-o. Drier. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 Regarding other aspects of water-related infrastructure. but the ecosystem as a whole suers from a lack of biodiversity. VIPs) whose euent is not centralised through a water-borne sanitation system. pollution to aquifers is dicult to clean up. It is true that tarred roads also involve environmental costs. However. In the case of surface water. and increasing the contamination from oil and other automotive by-products to receiving water bodies. High pollutant loads ± particularly nutrients. and have proven to be dangerous for young children who can be swept into rivers. Some of the foreseen consequences include a reduction in the water body's natural puri®cation systems. contribute sediment to stormwater ¯ows. In the case of groundwater resources. Environmental destruction can be reduced through moving from open drains and gravel roads to tarred roads and closed drains beneath roads (the MIIF's affordability guidelines dictate that low-income communities receive the former). water is rapidly channelled to downstream areas. result in billions of rands in property damage and a substantial death toll every year. and result in property damage to nearby homes. speeding up the rate of stormwater runo. And closed drains speed the water ¯ow.. Such resources are already used to supply water to towns throughout the country. the soil conditions and topography of urban and rural areas makes a major dierence in drainage. where much of the natural drainage capacity of the land has been inhibited as the land is covered with concrete and as surface vegetation is lost (due to its use as ®rewood as well as by land development).e. salts and chemicals ± are products of urban run-o (Allanson. Groundwater moves much more slowly than surface water. most local water researchers stress the importance of carefully managing South Africa's limited water resources. The impervious surfaces of urban areas not only increase ¯ood peaks during storms. Most conventional water treatment plants are ill-equipped to adequately purify the increasingly polluted water (Rencken and Kerdachi.50 P. Less rainwater seeps into underground aquifers and the area becomes drier when the rains stop (Stephenson. Groundwater remains three to ®ve times cheaper to develop than surface water sources. Control is even more dicult for the non-point sources in agricultural run-o and informal settlements (i. Many urban streams and rivers do not meet the general euent standards established by the Department of Water Aairs and Forestry. With respect to both open and closed drainage. 1994). good water drainage systems are an important protection against ¯ooding in crowded urban developments. 1991). 1993). Poor water quality not only aects South Africa's ability to continue to provide clean drinking water to a growing population. point and non-point source pollution from dense urban settlement and industrial sources has created a serious water quality problem. A third component of integrated management is the strategic planning of green areas that would absorb stormwater runo (Andoh. decreasing the surface area for absorption of water. Systems that clean up water pollution or ameliorate its eects are becoming available. Problems discussed earlier ± bacterial contaminants. experienced periodically in South Africa. which results in heavy downstream ¯ooding. Open drains are much less desirable in heavily settled areas due to their high potential for being blocked by solid waste (this is somewhat less of a problem with closed drains. along with toxins and oil ± have killed o aquatic life in urban streams and have polluted the major raw water supply reservoirs which now must be treated to high standards for human consumption. Open drains may also carry excessive amounts of sediment into the receiving water body. uncovered sections of the urban areas. 1995). and oer enormous potential to further supplement surface water supply. This can smother aquatic life and clog dams. and thus the self- . Flood disasters.000 per week to operate. One temporary measure to preserve aquatic life in the wake of a pollution event is an aeration system that costs more than R25. But innovations in closed stormwater drainage systems have a huge potential for savings in construction costs and in costs to the environment. Regarding water treatment. but also decrease low ¯ows between storms. and increasing levels of ¯ooding and erosion as the vegetation mediating these processes is depleted. but improved solid waste collection is required in either case). prevention of groundwater pollution should receive high priority in water management. warning that water pollution is already a serious problem. water that could then be used by in- dividual households to water yards or use for general washing.
1997). by roughly R117 million per annum (Himlin. but are included here due to the fact that disaggregation of costs has not yet been completed. removal of silt from dams. the most direct environmental cost of pollution to water systems is the cost of the clean-up of contamination. In short. as noted below. based on recent research about the positive and negative externalities associated with retail electricity provision (van Horen. which is a 5 Amp supply. In aggregate each year.. which would generate health care savings. 1997). but there will generally be no cooking or space heating. access to small volumes of electricity may replace the use of candles and paran for lighting. The use of coal and wood for ®res would then be largely limited to social purposes. The time spent by rural households in South Africa (usually women) collecting wood for ®res fall within the range of 5. of which an estimated 5% is abated at higher levels of electricity than MIIF envisages. Other elements that could be included in a more comprehensive environmental cost-bene®t analysis that in turn would justify. energyintensive applications such as cooking.9). At the low infrastructure levels envisaged in the MIIF.2 million hours of travel time could be saved (nearly entirely by women) along with 12 million tonnes of ®rewood (Bond et al. compared to the 20 Amps required to run several small appliances and the 60 Amps supply available in most middle. The respective estimates for air pollution due to wood usage are R944 per household per year.6 h per week (average 11. restoration of estuaries. under conditions that did not include RDP-style lifeline taris (i. it is true that increased electricity service levels may cause additional social and ecological costs due to the generation of electricity to meet additional demand. a limited supply of refrigeration. It is possible to make some monetary estimates of the incremental bene®ts of improving service levels beyond MIIF standards. The main bene®ts of electri®cation are with respect to health.. 1997). while others (deforestation. but as in the case of water this demand would represent a tiny fraction of existing consumption (no more than 3% additional demand. space heating and water heating are more expensive if electricity is used rather than coal. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 51 cleansing properties evident in surface water are weak. restoring surface water to required standards. aesthetics and visibility. pollution caused by burning coal in urban neighbourhoods) are externalities that society as a whole pays for. which would add to the intrinsic value of the ecosystem (Himlin.P. 1996b) and on a range of studies undertaken of newly electri®ed households around South Africa (Simmonds and Mammon. Some of the eects noted are associated with public health. radios. 1. 1996). The damages from groundwater pollution to ecosystems is often long term. The incremental eects of moving from one service level to the next depends substantially upon the levels of standards and whether a lifeline tari exists (as well as whether the retail price of small. As with water. but there are additional bene®cial eects of moving to electricity from coal and wood for the sake of biodiversity. replacing river vegetation and rehabilitation of aquatic life/®sh. wood and paran (Thorne. these savings would outweigh the costs for sewage treatment and greater water demand from the additional households served. Some of these costs (such as indoor air pollution) are limited to households. and batteries for small appliances. on economic grounds. which would add to property values. and often leads to abandonment of aquifers. and in the ®rst ®ve years of the accelerated electri®cation programme. Without a lifeline tari. if all South African households received electricity). but again in the absence of a lifeline tari. whereby electricity still cost an inordinate amount). 25% of which would be abated if higher supplies than those envisaged through the MIIF are provided. which would have commercial ®shing potential. include puri®cation of sewage euent to required standards. 1996). . even in the absence of a lifeline tari. higher infrastructural service standards. puri®cation of drinking water reservoirs. While it is impossible to put a price tag on a clean environment. The cost of air pollution due to coal is R307 per household per year. Based on the experience since Soweto was electri®ed in the 1980s.2±18. domestically-produced appliances can be subsidised). which would generate an increased quality water supply. the mere availability of electricity does not change behaviour if the price is not suciently low to create a substitution eect. Environmental bene®ts associated with increased access to electricity ± certainly beyond the small supplies envisaged in the MIIF. and again 5% of these costs are abated with higher electricity standards (also without a lifeline tari). Preliminary calculations by the Development Research Institute in Johannesburg con®rm that if only a 10% reduction in water puri®cation costs were achieved by moving all under-served households to water-borne sanitation instead of providing pit latrines. It is only possible to guess what the abatement levels would rise to if both higher standards and a lifeline supply ± to provide sucient free electricity to ensure cooking. which has potential recreational bene®ts. televisions and small appliances. cleaning of groundwater aquifers. water heating and space heating ± were oered.and upperincome white households ± include diminished air pollution from coal and wood ®res and diminished fuelwood collection. The cost of fuelwood collection is presently estimated at R291 per household per year.e. it has been observed that electricity generates a substitution eect for higher- value services such as powering lights.
erosion and the washing of human waste into surface water. If electri®cation occurs at much higher standards in urban areas. inadequate sanitation can result in the spread of intestinal helminths through contact or ingestion of soil contaminated by human faeces. availability and utilisation of water. In addition. In South Africa. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 Adding health bene®ts of electri®cation ± i. eating utensils or dirt. and costs of treating in. ranks diarrhoeal disease as one of the largest causes of disease burden. Here distance to the water source is of the utmost importance as well as the promotion of positive water-use behaviour. lost production. the net environmental bene®ts of electri®cation rise more gradually. Other studies have reported 40±80% reduction in diarrhoea mortality in infants and children with the provision of piped water in the house. R400 million in year four and R800 million in year eight. but perhaps the greatest in¯uence on policy-making should be ± but is not. In rural areas. when improper drainage leads to ¯ooding. Such water-washed transmission can be dramatically curtailed by increasing the quantity. and the public as a whole must take responsibility for it. The net eects include not only avoided environmental costs from household consumption. The primary risk factors are the absence of an inside tap. Since the transmission of many of the above diseases depend on access of human wastes to water or people's mouths. using the DALY (disability adjusted life year) to measure burden of disease. transport costs. diarrhoeal disease is responsible for almost 25% of deaths amongst black and coloured children between 1 and 4 years of age. as well as noncommunicable diseases due to water-borne toxins. and when coal and wood are used by households instead of cleaner. It is the environment that pays when pit latrines leak pollutants into groundwater. if . It is estimated to account for 8. Several studies analyse the impact of improved water and sanitation on morbidity rates due to diarrhoeal disease. The expected decrease in morbidity rates associated with access to adequate levels of water and sanitation is regarded to be between 22% and 46%. and is generally transmitted through food-borne processes or directly transmitted via ®ngers. The environment is a public good. and mortality costs based on a range of international studies (and adjusted to take account of South African income levels) ± van Horen (1996) found large net bene®ts from increasing electri®cation standards so as to reduce some of the pollution associated with inecient energy use. there are health bene®ts from improved water and sanitation services. In addition. A recent burden of disease study in developing countries.52 P. Public health promotion Geographical. a ¯ush toilet in the home. abatement of morbidity costs including medication. property. Environmental pollution results in actual costs to health. but also an estimate of the additional environmental costs of electricity generation by Eskom ± including the eects of coal-®red power plants and ozone depletion ± to supply these customers.1% of total DALY loss in these areas. The key component of calculations associated with health and infrastructure is the cost of communicable diseases related to inadequate water supply and sanitation. economic and ecological bene®ts of infrastructural services are important. the chain of transmission can be broken by safe disposal of excreta. according to Sanders and Groenewald (1996): Health bene®ts of variable magnitude have been reported. when sewage systems fail. and quality of life. Diarrhoea is the most common such disease. the net bene®ts begin at roughly R100 million in year one and rise (in present value terms) to R200 million in year two. personal and domestic hygiene (washing hands after defecating and before preparing food) improving water quality and preventing recontamination of water supplies.. a refuse receptacle. According to Sanders and Groenewald (1996). to R50 million by year eight. improvement of infrastructure and service standards should be undertaken in part because of the negative environmental externalities associated with lower standards. Infants and children carry the main burden of inadequate water and sanitation-related disease with more than 80% of the DALY loss due to diarrhoea being the result of infections in children under age 5. Studies have reported 0±81% (median 21%) lower child mortality rates amongst children with improved water and sanitation facilities than those without such facilities. In sum. and electricity. healthier electricity. and for nutritional de®ciency and low weights. to date ± the large savings to the public health budget that can reasonably be expected if standards are improved and services subsidies provided.e. According to Sanders and Groenewald (1996). such diseases may be water-borne (spread through water supply) water-washed (lack of water for personal and food hygiene) or water-based.and out-patients. as well as low household income and lower than standard ®ve maternal education. 5. One study shows that a decrease of between 35 and 50% can be expected.
upgrading from minimal levels to intermediate/full water and sanitation services. road dust contributed 16% on average to particulate pollution. medication. The factors required to achieve maximum impact from improved water and sanitation have not been well researched.1 cm were associated with improvements in sanitation to the level of pit latrines.9 cm with optimal sanitation improvements (¯ush toilets) in comparison with no improved sanitation. which accrue through improved infrastructure (beyond the standards set out in the MIIF). improvements in child nutritional status were found with improved water and sanitation. for example. average per household costs of R90 per year can be abated by an estimated 50% due to electricity access even without a lifeline supply (and presumably much higher with lifeline) while health costs associated with ®res and burns ± an estimated R491 per household per year ± can be abated by an estimated 75% with higher levels of electricity supply. using even conservative estimates about electricity access and utilisation rates. based on a review of international evidence of the eects of dierential infrastructure and services on disease abatement. costs included transport costs. To illustrate. 1996). valuation estimates from a range of international studies were used and adjusted to take account of South African income levels. There are. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 53 improved water and sanitation are combined with excreta disposal and hygiene education. in addition. however. water quantity may be more important than water quality and hygiene education enhances the health bene®ts of improved water supply and sanitation. If. 1997). For mortality. Many pedestrian deaths are preventable if the road network construction is accompanied by speed control. In Soweto.P. secure travel. . which is linked to respiratory diseases (Sanders and Groenewald. substandard roads and poor safety enforcement (Cape Town Metropolitan Non-natural Mortality Study Group and Health Consulting Oce. Such estimations allow for rough calculations of cost savings associated simply with abatement of diarrhoea. Another shows that up to 70% of diarrhoeal disease cases can be attributed to inadequate disposal of child faeces and garbage and poor caretaker hygiene. this disparity will result in fewer health bene®ts to the population. and 1. health bene®ts from higher municipal standards of roads and drainage systems. the greatest bene®ts seem to be associated with an improvement in both sanitation and water supply. footbridges and recreational facilities for children. walkways. The direct health sector cost saving due to reduced morbidity associated with electri®cation is. The implications of reducing household air pollution from coal and wood were noted above. Sanitation coverage is slipping behind safe water coverage and if sanitation has a larger impact on health than improving water. A recent review of research into the health bene®ts of water and sanitation facilities suggests that improved water supply in itself does not necessarily produce signi®cant health improvements. between R343 and R515 million over a ten-year period (van Horen and Davis. without lifeline tari estimation). The majority of transport related deaths involving pedestrians in Cape Town occurred in peri-urban areas with poor transport infrastructure. 1996). sanitation may be a more important factor than water supply. University of Cape Town researchers estimate that a universal supply of electricity would curtail more than 3000 deaths each year due to acute respiratory infection (caused by wood/coal burning) burns and paran poisoning. Increases in height ranging from 0. In the case of paran poisoning. van Horen and Davis (1996) estimate savings due to the abatement of a broad range of health costs that follow the introduction of additional electricity. electri®cation also has major health bene®ts. Speci®cally. In the same study. in the greater Cape Town area from 1981 to 1984. and assuming a conservative cost estimate of hospitalisation of R2250 per diarrhoea case. Utilising a dierent database that focuses much more on household-level eects (still. This is not currently the case in many urban areas where wide roads. lost production and costs of treating in.and out-patients.5±1. a 22% reduction in diarrhoea morbidity is achieved. South African township roads are often unpaved and unlit with consequent deleterious impact on quality of life. 15% of deaths in childhood were due to transport accidents. Sanders and Groenewald (1996) recommend relatively high standards of infrastructure provision: Where water was supplied on site or inside the house and a water-based sanitation system or ¯ush toilet was present diarrhoea prevalence was 40% lower than with unimproved water and no sanitation. Another study estimated that provision of in-house water connections would reduce diarrhoea morbidity among infants by 12% and the provision of private excreta disposal facilities would reduce diarrhoea morbidity by 42%. the lack of law enforcement and dangerous rail systems result in high levels of injury. to both urban and densely populated rural areas. Improvements in transport infrastructure should promote safe. In the case of morbidity. In addition to the positive impact of water on diarrhoeal disease abatement. would yield direct cost savings of more than R750 million to the health sector over a ten-year period.8±1.
And there is evidence to show that people are much more likely to maintain services which are their own than those which are shared. Flooding is a problem in areas where there is inadequate drainage. The quantity of water is almost more important than water quality for household health production. 1996). For this reason the provision of private household or yard taps is advocated. sanitation and piped water. aspects of the built environment with negative consequences on physical or psycho-social health. Anopheles mosquitos which spread malaria breed in standing water. The stress of living under these conditions may undermine the immune system and predispose people to diseases. which can be used for child care and productive activities. Culex mosquitos which spread ®lariasis breed in sewage water (cracked or open septic tanks. Intestinal parasites are also a major source of morbidity amongst low-income urban settlements (Sanders and Groenewald. With communal standpipes. . Inadequate water and sanitation service provision result in large numbers of pathogenic microorganisms and disease vectors in the environment. Air pollutants are produced by biomass or coal combustion as well as road dust. Good quality housing and living environments provided by good quality infrastructure and service delivery can greatly reduce stress and its negative health consequences (Sanders and Groenewald. safe water. Moreover. For better health impact. Communal water facilities have been shown to have no or little health impact or in some cases worsen the situation. improved water and sanitation and better hygiene behaviour are required. dengue. Countries with the largest gaps in the quality of infrastructure between the wealthy and the poor. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 There are signi®cant potential health bene®ts associated with improved drainage of waste and storm water. This saving is the direct result of investment in urban infrastructure. The ®rst four directly aect health and the other three in¯uence health indirectly (Sanders and Groenewald. Health bene®ts from improved water supplies only appear when improved sanitation is present and only when water is provided on the premises or inside the house. Given the historical disparities between race groups in South Africa. yellow fever and tuberculosis). water waste can be high as there is no individual responsibility to see that the taps are closed. and as such. In addition. as distance to the water source is the most important factor aecting the quantity of water used by households. have the potential to threaten the health of higher socio-economic groups in the vicinity (especially cholera. and in the prevention of contaminated ground and surface water and soil by human excreta. chemical pollutants. have the worst overall health status. education and health care. scalds and accidental ®res are associated with the use of alternative energy sources to electricity. 1996). a shortage or lack of access to particular natural resources. water storage containers) and spread yellow fever and dengue. improved worker productivity. Other environmental and hazard-related aspects of roads and drainage systems were discussed above. may be a health hazard in itself. pit latrines and drains). Water provision without adequate wastewater disposal provision such as that provided by water-borne sanitation. Aedes mosquitos breed in small containers of clean water (tins. In addition to the ethical and moral arguments. the public health arguments for improving the proposed levels of service provision are numerous. 1996).54 P. particularly women's time. It is short-sighted to provide a lower level of infrastructure given the longer term potential for environmental degradation. The reduction in morbidity due to energy related diseases is a function of the relationship between electri®cation and developmental attributes such as housing. Health bene®ts from other infrastructural improvements include abatement of seven types of environmental health hazards that are common in urban areas: biological pathogens. Improvements in both water and sanitation produce larger impacts than either alone. and almost R450 million with regard to electri®cation (assuming 80% access by 2012). malaria. In areas where water supplies have been improved without provision of wastewater disposal the result has been a shift from one set of diseases to another. The risk of ®res is further increased in low-income urban settlements because of the proximity of dwellings and ¯ammable materials used for their construction. there are sound public health arguments for improving infrastructure in the poorer areas. sanitation. The direct health sector cost saving that would stem from upgrading the proposed urban infrastructural investment with regard to water and sanitation is R570 million. Many diseases thrive in areas where there is poor drainage and inadequate provision for garbage collection. and opportunities for education. indirect health bene®ts will also result in substantial savings due to the release of time. The issue of health sector ®nancing is particularly pertinent in the light of the disparity between health expenditures and health outcomes in South Africa. Incremental improvements in sanitation result in incremental improvements in health. natural resource degradation and national/global degradation. In sum. This has implications in the broader debate concerning ®nancing and aordability. and should be included in any ®nancial evaluation of the urban infrastructure investment as a return on the initial investment. physical hazards. Physical hazards such as burns. it is not appropriate to provide inferior services to the disadvantaged populations. tyres. many psychosocial disorders are associated with poor quality houses and living environments. ®lariasis. Many of the diseases related to poor infrastructure are contagious.
If such lifeline taris are to be considered an entitlement. with rising increases in prices based on increasing consumption levels. With respect to ®nancing the capital costs of infrastructure. Consumption related charges entail costly methods of collection which either lead to signi®cant underrecovery of costs or signi®cantly higher prices to consumers. time savings due to the use of electricity for cooking and heating could be utilised in ways more bene®cial to health. programmes and projects to date.000 units per year) that would decisively diminish the backlog of approximately 4. In contrast. but also because it is administratively expensive to do so. In the case of electricity.P. Women's savings in energy expenditure from bringing water closer to households results in reduced incidence of low birth weight babies born as well as a corresponding reduction in energy intake which could be transferred to children. is penny-wise but pound-foolish. provided that subsequent levels consumption are priced at increasing rates so as to cover the initial costs. The rationale for a block tari is partly the long history of resource consumption at inordinately low prices by South Africa's large industrial and agricultural corporations. . Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 55 Such public health considerations are important for gender equity. In sum. Eskom (which in 1995 installed 80% of all new connections in South Africa) only spent half of the amount suggested in the RDP for the peak annual capital cost of electri®cation. Subsidies and taris The South African government's failure to lower the prices of basic services will mean that the range of bene®ts from basic infrastructure described above cannot be achieved. as proposed for most rural water consumption. A ¯at rate charge is inequitable in that it favours those consuming larger quantities and this has the potential for social con¯ict. with no plans to augment its capital expenditure beyond present levels (300. Similarly. and a willingness to look beyond the orthodox cost-recovery approach that has dominated policy. The collection of monies from standpipes poses considerable problems. 50 litres of water per person per day). free lifeline taris can easily be designed for the ®rst block of consumption (e. there is no reason that they cannot be structured so that all domestic users receive their ®rst monthly units of water and electricity on a fully subsidised basis. and have been for decades. 1998a. average cost or other narrow ®nancial-return techniques. It is in this sense that the South African government has not even advanced to the stage of ecological modernisation whereby cost-bene®t analysis would permit the internalisation of externalities.g. and extravagant domestic use by the white population. health is primarily produced at the level of the household and is directly related to the living environment. for the Zimbabwe case). but strong moral and political bene®ts associated with improved infrastructure development ± will also require the government to revisit its pricing of services. located in white areas). an insucient amount of public sector capital expenditure is occurring. as well as indirectly achieved mainly through releasing women's time for caring and productive activities. There is much evidence to demonstrate the signi®cant public health advantages of improved infrastructure. which includes municipal service provision.and highincome areas (still mainly populated by white South Africans) are still heavily subsidised. electri®cation and drainage. by law. by all accounts. A pure cost-recovery model is inappropriate for municipal and other social services. If we consider the implications of the cost-recovery approach in perhaps the most critical area of services ± basic water supply ± it is clear that attempting to be thrifty by providing merely collective (not individual onsite) taps. nor have socio-ecological justice instincts been sharp enough to redistribute wealth in the form of progressive block taris. 6. It often costs more in cost recovery administration than can be squeezed out of low-income people desperate for treatment (see Bond. sanitation. However at present. tari reform can support the stretching of payment for capital. Thus most government urban policy documents fail to consider that services in existing middle. But to realise the large gains possible ± not only the health budget savings that are likely if standards are improved.5 million households. Restructuring subsidies and taris requires coming to grips with extremely low levels of aordability. from surpluses generated through business levies (ultimately based on transfers from black workers and consumers whose employers and retail outlets were historically. The health gains will be both a direct result of improved water.. a progressive block-tari and lifeline subsidy system assures that a minimum supply of municipal services could be consumed at no charge by all residents. The South African government rejected a cost-recovery approach to primary health care not only because health is a basic human right (guaranteed in the Constitution's Bill of Rights) and because low-income people's spending on healthcare is typically subtracted from spending on vital food and other components of good health. Redistribution for the sake of social and historical justice is one rationale for dramatic changes in infrastructural service pricing. The same is true with respect to other basic governmentsupplied services. By generating a surplus through slightly higher marginal costs for corporations. But there are other reasons that the government should systematically diverge from setting prices based on orthodox marginal cost.
Because the argument for cross-subsidisation and lifeline taris is ultimately about recurrent consumption.g. which can generally be internalised within the rates base of. 1997). however. amounts feasible within the existing planned housing and land reform budgets (Bond et al.) With price elasticities of water in the Johannesburg area estimated at À0. and central ®scal transfers to local authorities. large tari variances still generally favour residents of well-established areas (not low-income black people) whose predecessors had long ago paid the capital costs of installation. and is aiming to reduce it by a further 15% by 2000. To achieve sucient cross-subsidisation in the two most crucial cost-centres. This could be accomplished while still giving local authorities sucient autonomy to establish additional levies for other funding purposes. cards are purchased regularly from outlets. the cost implications of providing a lifeline subsidy of 20 kWh per capita per month would be approximately R6 (the average consumption at present by ®ve±six person households with prepayment meters is 80 kWh per month. this corresponds to the stated desire of government to spend 5% of its annual resources ± in 1998 rand R10 billion of a R200 billion budget ± on housing (of which basic infrastructure is the core component) (actual spending has been less than 1. fuelled the corporate ``minerals-energy complex'' which so dominated other aspects of South African economic development that it can largely be held responsible for many of the country's vast structural economic problems. Similarly. Additional spending on land reform would support enhancement of rural services (which are more costly to install given geographical friction). 1997). including the underdevelopment of small-scale business. Eskom was able to reduce the real price of electricity by 24%. water and electricity. and from urban to dense settlement and rural. once either billing systems are adjusted or prepayment meters are fully installed (in the latter case.. requires moving from local-level tari determinations (which still often re¯ect residual apartheid-era distributional arrangements) to a national policy and structure.. 1995).05 R/kWh (40%) higher for domestic consumers than for mining or manufacturing consumers (Electricity Working Group. see Bond. While there has been great variance due to deals favouring particular consumers (such as the giant aluminum exporters) the mean 1994 electricity tari was R0. low levels of investment. a lifeline tari is not technically dicult to implement. Current water pricing policy is indeed to allocate 5% of all water in South Africa to a basic needs reserve. The problem continues. as ®rms have diculty matching their marginal cost curves to retail price levels. and some interesting pilot studies of local cross-subsidisation (e. As is the case for water pricing.56 P. 1998b). atomistic volumes).5% of budgetary resources since 1994). monopolisation. and inappropriately high capital-intensity in key economic sectors. 1996). Other aspects of infrastructure such as roads and water-borne sewage involve relatively minor operating and maintenance costs. in part due to rising opposition to such block taris from the World Bank (Roome. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 How much capital investment is required? An ``intermediate'' service level for urban and rural people ± much higher than the proposed MIIF ± would have capital costs of up to R56 billion in urban areas and R59 billion in rural areas over the next decade. Consumers were not so fortunate (though they are subsidised extensively given the far higher costs of supplying power at peak morning and evening hours and in relatively small. is important to show how water and electricity can become self-®nancing through ``ringfenced'' cross-subsidisation (requiring no other external subsidies). for conservation purposes) (Roome. At just over R11 billion per year. DCD and the Department of Finance. according to Fine and Rustomjee (1996).3. To consider water. There are sucient ®nancial surpluses within the water sector at catchment-area and national levels. as is provided for in the Constitution (Swilling. Cheap electricity. and it would . the Western Cape town of Hermanus) to suggest the feasibility of this approach. from mining and industry to residential users. the electricity sector has historically distorted end-user tari prices so as to maintain its product arti®cially inexpensive for many heavy industrial consumers (in part to take up large underutilised capacity due to 1970±80s over-expansion) hence leading to serious economic distortions. Within domestic consumption. local authorities have generally failed to apply progressive tari structures. there will not be a dramatic impact initially on large-scale users (though such an impact would certainly be desired. A large part of the government's reluctance to expend amounts anywhere near this level on decent household infrastructure ± notwithstanding rhetoric to the contrary in even the macroeconomic strategy ± stems from the inability of consumers to pay the recurrent operating and maintenance expenses. there are numerous potential sources of income from within the water sector to cover the operating and maintenance costs of an improved level of service with a basic entitlement provided for free. for precisely this (abstract) purpose of assuring all basic needs can be met. ultimately. low skill levels of the workforce. poor export performance in manufacturing. relative lack of capacity in intermediate and capital goods. 1995. (One strong basis for opposition is that it makes privatisation of municipal water more dicult. To replace these distortions with cross-subsidies founded on social justice principles. These include cross-subsidisation from rich to poor consumers. which implies that a new system would dramatically increase consumption for lower-income users). for between 1987 and 1994. for a rebuttal.
Funding support from the British Department for International Development and the SA Department of Constitutional Development is acknowledged. in varying degrees. even to the very poor. Greg Ruiters. There is. (b) increasing the standards of infrastructure provision. and Ben Casdan and Chippy Olver are thanked for supporting the research process.P. and related departments) the provinces and municipalities to make a stronger case for infrastructure investment and broader service delivery. David Sanders. Some such cut-os have occurred in a manner that even important community organisations (such as SA National Civic Organisation branches) have been unable to mediate or justify. Acknowledgements Acknowledgements are due to many colleagues with whom these arguments were developed during 1990±98. prior to any ®nalisation of the policy debates. Conclusion: expanded developmental infrastructure and service delivery To sum up the intellectual and policy argumentation. politically. there will be economic consequences of an inclining block tari. given the politicised nature of these issues at present and the threat they pose to the popularity of the nationalist government. to violent attacks on municipal ocials. to ®rebombings of houses belonging to municipal councilors even from the ANC. The diculty of marrying two lines of advocacy ± on the one hand. As noted below. Data on price elasticities are relatively scarce. Bond / Geoforum 30 (1999) 43±59 57 be administratively feasible to provide the subsidy to a household representative each month at a given sales point). thus ensuring a lifeline supply for all. occasionally. 7. endorsed a stingy system of lowquality. and on the other hand. There is still a chance. and (c) much more eective roles for the state and communities in infrastructure investment and services provision.097 and a long-run price elasticity of À1. low-income South Africans can reinsert themselves into the decision-making process should become a top priority. Litha Mcwabeni. and that have intensi®ed local-level alienation and anger (leading. including fuelswitching and conservation. the numerous South African government departments associated with its supply from national to local levels have all. the total annual cost internal to the electricity supply sector would eventually reach approximately R3 billion per annum (roughly twice the existing internal cross-subsidy to domestic users) once the entire nation had electricity connections. The broader cost±bene®t analysis supported in this paper should help shift the terrain of debate surrounding allocation of national budgetary resources so as to allow policymakers from the national DCD (as well as Finance. An exploration of how. Mzwanele Mayekiso. in addition. technical. This imperative is re¯ected in the severe tensions. Selby Shezi and Mark Swilling. based on sound socioeconomic bene®ts of higher standards. there is a crucial need for a systematic approach to cross-subsidies. rationalist and acceptance of the broad premises of capital accumulation. utilising national tari restructuring so as to achieve redistribution. particularly evident during 1997±98. grounded in decades of social struggles for both racial and socio-economic justice ± is here apparent. 1996). The people (and their organisations) most aected by municipal infrastructure and service delivery policy have been largely excluded from the national policy debates through their political representatives in government and parliament. to change that. there is a good case for considering the criteria listed as the basis for: (a) generous infrastructure and service subsidies. regulation and pricing. given South Africa's combination of maldistribution of resources and enormous poverty. including George Dor. conservation and other socio-economic objectives. With approximately nine million households. and an ineectual tripartite bargaining forum. Water Aairs. fuel-switching would also encourage the development of inexpensive solar and wind systems with much lower life-cycle cost and greater applicability in isolated rural areas (Davis. associated with cut-os of services by municipalities in highly politicised townships. . a growing political imperative associated with aligning infrastructure and service de- livery to developmental goals (instead of merely to full cost-recovery principles). relatively unsubsidised infrastructure and service provision which will neither capture the bulk of positive externalities described above. and in one case to a tragic assassination of a Johannesburg suburban ANC mayor in October 1998). Becky Himlin. Ideally. however.01 (Pouris. For even in the face of evidence that basic infrastructure for socio-economic development. 1986). environmental protection and geographical desegregation is aordable and pays handsome direct and indirect dividends. at national level but with scope for some degree of municipal variation. nor ful®ll popular yearnings for dignity. In short. although one study indicated a short-run price elasticity of À0. Minerals and Energy. All of these conclusions from the review of available international and domestic evidence should be considered as minimal justi®cations for broader state intervention and community participation.
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