Shutdown Round 2: Alexandra braces itself for more protest action

2019-06-19 09:23
(Canny Maphanga, News24)

(Canny Maphanga, News24)

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Alexandra residents are set to take to the streets again on Wednesday in a second shutdown since the beginning of April.

In a statement, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: "The Alex Shutdown Movement has planned the next round of politically driven disruptions [on Wednesday], 19 June 2019.

"There must be no question, the people of Alexandra have very legitimate, long-standing and deep-seated grievances with how they have been treated. Their living conditions and lack of housing opportunities are a product of how funds intended for Alexandra have been pillaged with impunity for decades," Mashaba said. 

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

The recent announcement of the shutdown is reportedly in response to the demolition of "illegal structures" that left many residents homeless along the Jukskei River, which was carried out by the Red Ants and metro police.

Wednesday's planned total shutdown is reportedly about the issue of illegal structures.

Convener of the shutdown movement, Sandile Mavundla, said while a number of politicians visited the township in northern Johannesburg since the April protest, very little progress has happened, according to SowetanLive

"The community of Alexandra never got an opportunity to meet with the intergovernmental team. We've only been able to meet with the ministers only. The community is now demanding that the team comes and presents a proper framework which they will use to redevelop Alexandra. We don't want talkshows now," Mavundla reportedly said. 

MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Lebogang Maile on Wednesday called for calm in Alexandra. 

"The right to protest is enjoyed by all communities, as enshrined in the Constitution, and law enforcement agencies, especially the police must not use excessive force to muzzle dissent", said Maile 

"The Alexandra shutdown must be [as] peaceful as possible, and government services must not be disrupted, including those going to work shouldn't be affected."

Maile made an undertaking to meet with community leaders of Alexandra Total Shutdown to update them on the work done so far by the Inter-Ministerial Team on Alexandra that was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

On Twitter, users reported that several roads in the township were already blockaded with rocks and burning tyres.

Read more on:    johannesburg ­  |  protests  |  service delivery
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