'Your mayor is scared to face you' - Ramaphosa tells Alex residents

2019-04-11 18:40

President Cyril Ramaphosa launched a thinly-veiled attack on Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba during his visit to Alexandra on Thursday.

Ramaphosa who was visiting the area after residents' week-long protest action, said he would no longer accept any excuses from government officials. 

Ramaphosa said he, unlike Mashaba, was not afraid to come to the township to face the angered community. 

"Your mayor is the one who is supposed to come and fix your car problems. However your mayor is scared to face you. Your mayor has said that he is not going to come now. I first said: 'Let me wait so that the mayor who is responsible should come first. To hear from himself, to see for himself.' Your mayor should not be afraid of his own people."

He told a crowd of hundreds of people at Alex stadium that he was appalled by the filth and dirt in the streets.

"Your message is very clear and it has reverberated and gone throughout the country that you, people of Alex, are sick and tired. You want better service delivery. You want people who are going to serve you better so your lives can improve. I heard you want houses but you also want invasions to stop. I have seen with my own eyes that sewage is spilling over Alex streets. I have seen that Alex is dirty and you don't want that."

He added that it was the local government's responsibility, not his, to oversee protest action and service delivery matters in municipalities, and it was the job of the local government to oversee community matters.

Ramaphosa criticised Mashaba in most of his speech, warning that he would be forced to act if the local government did not fix challenges the community of Alex faced.

Flanked by Gauteng premier David Makhura, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Human Settlements Nomaindia Mfeketo and Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu, the president told the community he had formed an inter-governmental team to meet Mashaba and iron out a plan to solve service delivery challenges in the township.

"The metro must make sure that it sends plumbers and sewage people to come and unblock the blockage. I want to give the mayor and the metro a chance. They must come and do it in the next few days."

He warned Mashaba that he would be forced to deploy the army to clean up Alex if he failed to do his job.

Responding in a statement, Mashaba said Ramaphosa was simply playing to the gallery. 

He lambasted Ramaphosa saying he was committed to engaging about plans of action and budgets.

"President Ramaphosa is offering the people of Alexandra more of the same broken promises and no accountability for decades of failure and corruption. It is President Ramaphosa who is afraid. President Ramaphosa is hiding behind the busloads of ANC members brought into today’s election rally. He knows that his party faithful have learnt not to ask the difficult questions that the people of Alexandra are asking."

Mashaba added that the DA-led multi-party government would continue to improve service delivery and combat the ANC legacy of the "looting of initiatives, like the Alexandra Renewal Project which could have improved the lives of the residents of Alexandra".

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  service delivery
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