#AlexTotalShutdown: Protesters march to Sandton, threaten to open case against Mashaba

2019-06-19 16:37
Police deployed during the #AlexTotalShutdown protests.

Police deployed during the #AlexTotalShutdown protests. (Sesona Ngqakamba, News24)

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Sandton was brought to a standstill on Wednesday as Alexandra "total shutdown" protesters took to the streets of the affluent area.

"Senzeni na, senzeni na" and "Sibatshelile iyeza iAlex" (We told them Alex is coming) were some of the songs protesters danced to as they marched. They also chanted "Amandla!"

They were en route to the City of Johannesburg's Region E offices in Daisy Street. 

The organisers of the protest action started the movement in April, protesting against poor service delivery, housing and crime affecting the Alexandra community. 

This time, they were back at the offices with same grievances, particularly their displeasure with Mayor Herman Mashaba's commitment to rebuild 80 illegal structures along the Jukskei River in Marlboro.

One of the conveners of the March, Sandile Mavundla, said they were demanding answers about when Mashaba would be dealing with the mushrooming of illegal structures in the township.

"We want to know when he will be making funds available for the development of the old Alex, instead of rebuilding illegal structures," he said. 

Mavundla added that it was convenient that the City was willing to rebuild the demolished structures, while saying there were no funds for the development of the area. 

Bobby Solomons, spokesperson of the shutdown, said the issues facing the community were urgent. He said they no longer wanted to talk, but to see action from the City. 

'Sandton belongs to all of us'

"Our memorandum today has the same issues - mushrooming of illegal structures and settlements, potholes, illegal connection and overall development of Alexandra. We want the clear development plan for Alexandra," Solomons said. 

The protesters clashed with police as they demanded to go to the offices, via Rivonia Road instead of Grayston Drive. 

They chanted, "Sandton belongs to all of us". 

When they arrived at Region E offices they were met with locked gates and a heavy police presence.

Solomons said they were going nowhere until they were addressed by the City. 

"Mashaba must talk! Today we want Mashaba to talk, we are not apologetic. Today we are not going anywhere," another convener said.

Mavundla said the protesters were going to open a case against Mashaba at the Alexandra police station for going against a court order authorising the demolitions, and agreeing to rebuild them.

The demonstrators left after no one addressed them outside the offices.

They began moving to the police station, where they said they would lay charges against Mashaba.

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