'I will be there. I wonder if you will be' - Mashaba challenges Ramaphosa to accompany him to Alex

Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has extended a challenge to President Cyril Ramaphosa, following the president's call for him to address angry Alexandra residents.

"Name the time and place, Mr President. I will be there. I wonder if you will be", the DA mayor said in a statement on Thursday.   

"I will account for the last two years of government and you can account for over two decades of government failure in Alexandra," the mayor added. 

Residents began protesting on Wednesday, demanding that Mashaba immediately visit the area and address their grievances. They placed the suburb under lockdown and used burning tyres to blockade streets and main roads.

Mashaba sent member of mayoral committee Michael Sun to address the irate residents.

But the community ridiculed and booed him, drowning out his speech with songs. Some hurled racist insults at Sun. Eventually, he was forced to leave the volatile area.

The protest was temporarily suspended on Thursday, after leaders called it off and asked Mashaba to address residents at a mass meeting on Friday.

They threatened to intensify their protest action if the mayor didn't pitch up. 

So far, police have arrested 11 people for public violence and maintained heavy visibility in the area.

Name the time and place

"The City of Johannesburg has made numerous attempts to receive the memorandum and engage the community leadership to hear their grievances. All of this was to no avail, when ANC ward councillors obstructed this effort," said Mashaba.

He said that it was of interest that Ramaphosa called on him to address Alex residents while he was dressed in ANC regalia. 

"Mr President it is your own party that has hijacked the legitimate grievances of this community ahead of the elections. It is, in fact, the ANC that promised the world to the community of Alexandra and delivered nothing for two decades.

"On the eve of the 2016 elections, it was the ANC mayor of Johannesburg (Parks Tau) and the ANC premier (David Makhura) who signed the Alexandra Statement of Intent, promising the massive development, which has never been funded by the national or provincial grants.

He said similar promises were made in 2011 and 2007. 

"The failures of the ANC in Alexandra now trace back over the tenures of three presidents," Mashaba said. 

READ: Alexandra residents suspend strike ahead of mass meeting

Mashaba added that he had engaged with the MEC for Human Settlements many times about the matter and that a commitment for funding had never been forthcoming. 

"After less than three years, the multi-party government has a delivery record in Alexandra that exceeds many more years of ANC government in Alexandra. It is for this reason that I am willing to call President Ramaphosa's bluff and I am willing to meet the people of Alexandra, as I have on many occasions before."

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