Alex shutdown: DA, ANC in blame-game as protest set to spread to Sandton

2019-04-07 21:32
Protests rock Alexandra. (Thabang Mathibedi)

Protests rock Alexandra. (Thabang Mathibedi)

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The ANC and DA in Gauteng have hit out at each other after tense protests, which is set to intensify, rocked Alexandra.

The DA's Gauteng premier candidate, Solly Msimanga, laid a complaint at the Alexandra police station on Sunday. However, the ANC in the provinces labelled it as a "cheap political stunt".   

The DA in Gauteng claims that the Alexandra protests have been orchestrated by the governing party to influence the upcoming elections.

Msimanga said he has evidence that the actions that took place in Alexandra township last week was not a service delivery protest but rather criminal chaos, which he said is being carefully coordinated by the ANC and its affiliates.

READ: Roads blocked as sporadic protests flare up in Alexandra

"The Democratic Alliance (DA) has seen WhatsApp messages from a South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) group, where activities aimed against Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba were coordinated," Msimanga said.

"Furthermore, we have seen a WhatsApp exchange where one of the organisers infers that their actions are being supported by the ANC. Further digging on social media revealed that the organisers were wearing ANC regalia."

"From the get-go, social media mobilisation regarding the Alex protests was driven by ANC members, most prominently by the Criminal Syndicate’s Head of Campaigns, Fikile Mbalula," he claimed.

Influencing the elections

In addition to laying charges, Msimanga said that they would also be approaching the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC), believing that the ANC breached the Electoral Code of Conduct.

"Isn't there a contravention of the electoral code of conduct where people are actually inciting violence where people are using intimidating tactics in order to influence the elections come 8 May."

"It is clear that the ANC are running scared of losing the elections on 8 May and will stop at nothing to hang on to power in Gauteng," Msimanga said. 

The former Tshwane Mayor also said that they would be approaching the national and provincial police commissioners, to ensure that the matter is investigated and to make sure that the alleged orchestrated manufactured violence does not spread.

"We are also going to say to the police commissioner that this must not only be left in Alexandra. Its already alleged that this is going to be coordinated in other areas."

The ANC hit back in a statement on Sunday, saying that instead of meeting with residents of Alexandra, as requested, the party had opted to rather open a case. 

"Realising that the DA’s campaign is floundering in Gauteng since the party deployed another failed former mayor of Tshwane to be its premier candidate, the DA is now desperate to find relevance," states ANC Gauteng Deputy Provincial Chairperson Comrade Panyaza Lesufi.

The party said the the DA must not hide behind the ANC and use it as an excuse for its dismal failure to respond to the plight of the those living in Alexandra since taking over the City of Joburg.  

Alex protests

Last week residents of Alexandra, citing service delivery issues, took to the streets of the township. They called on Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba to address them.

News24 reported on Wednesday, that angry residents blocked roads leading into the area with rubble, burning tyres and rocks as they led the #AlexShutDown demonstrations.

Mashaba sent member of his mayoral committee, Michael Sun to address the irate residents on Wednesday. The community, however,  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.

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

On Thursday, a small group of residents started protesting again before suspending their action until Friday, calling on Mashaba to address them at a mass meeting expected to take place the next day in the township.

Mashaba also released a statement on Thursday, challenging President Cyril Ramaphosa to accompany him to the area.

"Name the time and place, Mr President. I will be there. I wonder if you will be there. I will account for the last two years of government and you can account for over two decades of government failure in Alexandra," said Mashaba.

Mashaba blamed the previous administration, led by the ANC, of causing the service delivery problems in the township.

The Johannesburg mayor has indicated that he will visit the area on April 15.

During Friday's mass meeting, speaker after speaker vowed that barricading and burning tyres in the streets of Alexandra had yielded no results. 

They have indicated that the protest will continue in neighbouring Sandton on Monday.

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Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  solly msimanga  |  fikile mbalula  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  protests  |  service delivery
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