City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba expressed his sympathies to the protestors in Alexandra and blamed the lack of service delivery on the ANC.
From as early as 04:00 on Wednesday morning, 3 April 2019, residents of Alexandra township began protest action by barricading roads with burning tyres. The residents said they were protesting to highlight and raise awareness of the failure by the City officials to stop the establishment of illegal structures and to address lawlessness in the area.
“I was born and bred in Alexandra. Today we are protesting to bring our Alexandra back. We are sick and tired of corruption that has been going on. Our land has been invaded by intruders. People coming from outside want to take what belongs to us. We are not fighting anyone. We are just making a statement to be heard but the police are shooting at us, that is not acceptable,” said one of the residents, who wished to not be named.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, mayor Herman Mashaba said he had noted the protests taking place in Alexandra and sympathised with the residents.
“I deeply sympathise with the challenges experienced by the residents of Alex. For decades, the people of Alex have continually been let down by previous administrations in the provision of housing and addressing migration into the community.”
Mashaba blames the African National Congress (ANC), who had governed over the area until the Democratic Alliance (DA) won votes to lead.
“Indeed, during the local government elections of 2016, the ANC, province and the previous administration committed to providing investment into the area so as to address housing challenges and development in the area.
“This commitment was made without any financing and consolidated strategic plan for meeting the commitment – it was nothing more than an empty ANC promise. This is not only true for the people of [Alexandra] but the city as a whole,” he said.
In his statement, Mashaba addressed the qualms of the protestors, saying that the City is working towards fulfilling the housing demands.
“As the new administration, we are working to progressively meet the housing demand and development needs of our communities within our available resources and bring Diphetogo to communities.
“The city has begun its inner revitalisation project which is aimed at creating affordable housing opportunities for those in our poorest communities. In addition, we have made room for development within the City through budget allocations in our adjustment budget.”
Mashaba added that the city was working on tightening security in the area, but stressed that policing remained the competency of provincial and national government.
“Within our limited jurisdiction, the city is working to keep communities safe through the acquisition of 1500 new JPMD officers who are set to complete training soon. This will allow the city to provide increase visible policing in communities, especially our informal settlements.”