Alexandra protests called off - for now ...

2019-04-04 07:03
Protests rock Alexandra. (Thabang Mathibedi)

Protests rock Alexandra. (Thabang Mathibedi)

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Alexandra residents have temporarily called off their protest due to "security concerns", EWN reported on Thursday. 

On Wednesday, protesters took to the street to voice concerns about service delivery-related issues. Police fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters in attempts to remove them from the streets. Residents retaliated by throwing stones and empty bottles at the police.

According to EWN, protesters had planned to voice their frustration about widespread substance abuse, rampant crime and the construction of illegal dwellings in the township by marching to Sandton.

Event organiser Sandile Mavundla told EWN that they received information on Wednesday night that private security guards have been hired to attack protestors and disrupt the demonstration.

'Not quitting'

"There's a private security company that's waiting for us, so we don't want to risk the lives of the people. We are not quitting, we're going to go to the Union Buildings to show that this thing is not a political-driven matter," he reportedly said. 

On Wednesday, residents accused the local government, led by DA Mayor Herman Mashaba, of failing its obligation to deliver meaningful services to the people of Alexandra, News24 reported

The JMPD was also accused of having failed to prevent illegal invasions in Alexandra in areas such as Far East, East Bank, West Bank, River Park extensions 7, 9 and 10, Marlboro and other areas inside the township.

City Power, working with the JMPD, has seemingly allowed illegal connections by these rising squatters and have not made any disconnections since the erection of illegal structures in these areas.

In addition, the JMPD and Joburg Water have reportedly not done anything to prevent illegal connections on the municipal infrastructure, leading to the meters of formal residences being compromised.

"JMPD under Mashaba has been reduced to only speed traps and ticket issuing, rather than effective policing of our metro. By-laws are not enforced. JMPD of Mashaba is in a honeymoon," according to a statement by residents. 

It's the ANC's fault

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mashaba blamed the previous local government, led by the ANC, for residents' woes. 

"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," Mashaba said. 

"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 Alex but the city as a whole," Mashaba said.

Attempts by City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Safety Michael Sun to address residents in Alexandra on Wednesday afternoon were met with boos and rejection, News24 reported

Sun went ahead with his address, even after being told by community leaders that they didn't want him. Instead, they demanded that Mayor Mashaba come speak to them.

Sun, who went to Alexandra in a JMPD nyala under heavy police escort, attempted to address the crowd, who chanted slogans, some tinged with racist insults.

A few minutes later, Sun emerged from the vehicle and walked away, protected by a heavy police guard.

Ward councillor Adolf Marema said they were adamant that Mashaba must address them.

"We want Mashaba, not Sun. He is an ordinary MMC, not a mayor. Mashaba is our mayor and he must come and address us. We are being ignored by Mashaba, who sent Sun to address us. We are not criminals here. Sun deals with criminals, not service delivery protests," he said.

Streets and main roads in the township were under lockdown after residents blocked them with burning tyres and various objects early on Wednesday morning.

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  alexandra  |  protests
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