Alexandra protests an ANC stunt, Mashaba says, but residents disagree
'We are still calling on the mayor to come and address us, he must come and see for himself the lawlessness and filth on our streets,' a resident said.
Protesters in Alexandra township in Johannesburg shut down the township over lack of service delivery, 3 April 2019. Roads were barricaded and blocked with burning tyres, as hundreds marched demanding better basic services, 4 April 2019. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark
Despite claims that the shutdown protest in Alexandra township was politically driven, residents are adamant that yesterday’s protest was a genuine call for help from the City of Johannesburg.
On Wednesday, thousands of residents went on the rampage, barricading roads with burning tyres and rocks, over a lack of service delivery and illegal occupation of land.
The move was described by experts as an electioneering stunt by the ANC against the DA ahead of the elections.
Residents demanded to be addressed by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba but he sent Michael Sun, mayoral committee member for public safety.
“We are still calling on the mayor to come and address us, he must come and see for himself the lawlessness and filth on our streets. We are concerned and affected residents of Alex,” said Lesego Raekoa yesterday, after protests flared up once again.
She said Mashaba had failed to deliver meaningful services to the people of Alexandra.
Another resident, MJ Skhosana from Vezinyawo settlement, said she decided to take part in the protest because she was directly affected by the illegal structures that have been erected across the road from her home.
“I am scared for my safety and for my children because we see new faces every day and you never know what might happen, so we are asking the mayor to please come and enforce some law and order before it’s too late,” she said.
Skhosana said as a result of overpopulation, basic services such as water and electricity were being connected illegally, which caused frequent blackouts.
ANC spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said the party supported the residents.
Responding yesterday, Mashaba said the ANC was using legitimate community grievances for political gain.
“It is deeply ironic that the ANC has now used the legitimate grievances of the residents of Alexandra for their narrow political ends, inciting the crowd and creating further unrest,” he said.
Mashaba received flak yesterday on social media for failing to go to Alex and address residents.
ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula tweeted “@HermanMashaba on @Radio702 with @ bonglez STILL has NO PLAN for the people of Alex and he STILL can’t explain why he STILL has NOT gone to Alex. NO PLAN on when he will go! He says that yena he can’t be everywhere. #WhereIsTheMayor #AlexTotalShutDown”