Fort Beaufort

Fort Beaufort in the Eastern Cape has a population of 50,000. In 1994, it became the second South African town to sign a privatization contract with a foreign firm. The ten-year contract effectively delegated the operation, maintenance and upgrading of the water and sanitation system to Suez, a private French company, which locally calls itself Water and Sanitation Services South Africa (WSSA). As in Nelspruit in 1994 when the white town and the black township were unified under a single administration, massive disparities in water access existed alongside very different socio-ecological experiences for white and black residents. Bhofolo, a black residential area, although barely a kilometer outside the white town had been part of the Ciskei Bantustan and had mostly communal water taps (upgraded to yard taps in 1993-4) and a bucket sanitation system with per capita consumption close to 20 litres per person per day. This community under apartheid paid a nominal fee for their low quality of water services.

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