South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to attend to the restive residents of Alexandra township in Soweto.
The residents are demanding an improvement in delivery of social services.
Johannesburg is an opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) run city, and Alexandra residents have been protesting, burning tyres, demanding to meet Mashaba to explain to him of continued poor service delivery in the township.
The president said he had noted the service delivery complaints from the township’s residents, stating that local government was the first point of call for citizens in the country.
“Your mayor has said that he is not going to come now. Initially, I wanted to wait for the mayor, who is responsible, to come first,” Ramaphosa, in a campaign mode for his ruling African National Congress and wearing party colours, said.
Speaking during a community meeting at Alexandra Stadium on Thursday, Ramaphosa said, “We have heard your pleas, the municipality must come and sort out your problems but your municipality is scared to come here.”
Since residents of Alexandra took to the streets last week to protest against poor service delivery and the mushrooming of informal settlements in the area, other townships in the country have followed suit with demonstrations – with some of them conducting running battles with the police.
The president warned Mashaba that he would no longer tolerate excuses from him because “that means that he’s failing to do his job. If that’s the case, he must step aside and let others take over.”