Mashaba sticks to his ANC 'dirty tricks' stance after Alex residents vent frustration

2019-04-16 11:27

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba says he regrets the manner in which Alexandra residents have been "hijacked for political purposes".

The mayor finally visited the troubled township – almost two weeks after residents started protesting over several service delivery issues, including housing, sanitation and the illegal occupation of land.

But, when they gathered in Marlboro Community Hall on Monday evening, Mashaba was heckled and the crowd started shouting, drowning out his words.

Residents were angry that Mashaba didn't meet them in the heart of the township, but rather in nearby Marlboro.

"We expected him to come to Alexandra, and not the upmarket side of it in Marlboro," one resident said.

But Mashaba remained adamant that the violent protests in the township, affectionately known as "Ghomorra", were the consequence of "many years of broken promises, failed service delivery and corruption under the ANC government".

He reiterated his belief that the ANC was behind the protests.

"This is an ANC-fuelled protest in aim of scoring political points," said Mashaba.

Mashaba spoke to the media in a room in the hall shortly after residents booed him off the stage and threw litter and empty bottles at him.

He said the member of the mayoral committee responsible for infrastructure development in the city had already begun dealing with some of the service delivery concerns raised by residents.

Joburg council speaker Vasco da Gama said more waste removal trucks had been allocated to the area to clean up the streets.

He also pointed out that "other [issues were brought about by] the competency of the national and provincial governments".

Mashaba accused President Cyril Ramaphosa of sitting on corruption cases he had reported to him, which he claimed implicated a number of ministers. But Ramaphosa failed to act, he said.

"I have written to the president and until today, there is yet to be movement," Mashaba said.

Mashaba drew on the Marikana tragedy to further criticise Ramaphosa, saying that if the president knew how to act fast, he should have done so during the deadly 2012 wage strike.

"I'd like to engage him on Marikana, and then him (Ramaphosa) and I could talk about public engagements because Marikana is still there," Mashaba said.

On Thursday, while visiting the area as ANC president, Ramaphosa called on Mashaba to respond to the residents' demands and not sit comfortably in his office.

Mashaba responded by saying that "not attending a meeting with residents at short notice" cannot be compared with Ramaphosa's "lack of public engagement with the families of the slain men from the Marikana massacre".

Ramaphosa was a non-executive director of the mining company Lonmin, when police opened fire on striking mineworkers, killing 34 people on August 16, 2012.

On the eve of the shooting, Ramaphosa wrote in an email thread between Lonmin management and government officials that events around the strike "are plainly dastardly criminal acts and must be characterised as such".

Mashaba has committed to meeting several interest groups, as well as the Commission of Restitution of Land Rights and the Gauteng Human Settlements Department over the grievances raised by Alexandra's residents.

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Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  service delivery  |  protests

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