Residents of Alexandra township in Johannesburg have promised to take the #AlexTotalShutdown protest to Sandton on Monday, 8 April 2019.
The residents of Alexandra township in Johannesburg have planned to take the protest to Sandton on Monday, 8 April 2019. Although heavy rains that started on Sunday, 7 April 2019 and continued into Monday morning might have been a potential deterrent, the Citizen reported that Alexandra residents had begun to gather in the early hours of Monday morning.
Last week, residents in Alexandra took to the street to protest the lack of basic service delivery. The residents were also protesting the lack of action from officials in terms of keeping illegal structures out of the township. The community promised to continue with the protest after City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba failed to show up to a meeting he was allegedly invited to and instead sent a member of his mayoral committee, Michael Sun, to address the masses last week. Upon his arrival, Sun was booed by the crowd and drowned out in song while he tried to address the crowd. After the incident, Mashaba indicated that he would be visiting Alexandra on 15 April 2019.
Despite the heavy rains, there was a high police and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) presence in the community on Monday morning. JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said that they would remain on standby.
“[The protesters] said they wanted to go to the offices of the regional director which is in the Sandton area, so Grayston Drive is likely to be affected,” Minnaar said.
He added that the specific time of the protests action could not be determined as it was not considered a “formal” protest. “For us as law enforcement it’s a case of wait-and-see,” he said.
Although the march was planned to be peaceful, without any violence and burning of tyres, Minnaar said that anything was possible.
“We got an undertaking from the organisers that it would be peaceful. We are calling on motorists to cooperate as our officers assist the marchers and, on the people participating in the protest, to adhere to the requests from the organisers. I’m sure everything will go down well,” he said.