The DA’s campaign strategy has been that – unlike the ANC – it was steadfast in its commitment to deliver where the party governs.
However, the Alexandra total shut down on Wednesday seemed to refute these claims by the main opposition party.
Several roads leading into and inside Alexandra Township – which falls under the DA-led Johannesburg Municipality – were blockaded with rubble, burning tyres and rocks as residents closed off all exit and entry points into the area.
Chief among their grievances was a lack of service delivery, housing and schooling.
In a statement, City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the ANC should take responsibility for what was happening.
“For decades, the people of Alex have continually been let down by previous administrations in the provision of housing and addressing migration into the community,” he said.
“Indeed, during the local government elections of 2016, the ANC committed to providing investment into the area so as to address housing challenges and development in the area.”
The mayor’s absence during the shutdown infuriated community members with one disgruntled member saying Mashaba should take note of the issues affecting the community, acknowledge his failings and take responsibility instead of shifting the blame.
Another protesting community member who identified himself as being at the forefront of the shutdown said they were angered by a lack of housing and service delivery.
“We have many issues in Alex but one main one I want to focus on is the fact that as much as we have many firms here, they have been shut down and turned into Nigerian churches. Firms are churches now, meaning there is no work here,” he said.
“We have situations where 10 people live in one shack but some foreigners brag about having houses and living well. There are so many Somalis here, why? We need our South African people to be the ones living here.”
Spotted among the protesting crowd were Incredible Happenings Ministries leader prophet Paseka “Mboro” Motsoeneng and MMC for public safety Michael Sun.
The crowd turned Sun away, but according to Mashaba he requested to address members of the community [on Mashaba’s behalf] and receive their memorandum as Mashaba was unavailable.
Mashaba said: “I am both angered and concerned by the racially-motivated mistreatment MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun received upon his engagement with the politically driven protestors in Alexandra.”
Mashaba claimed it was a racially motivated attack on Sun which was motivated by ANC members.
Speaking to City Press, Mboro said that as a prophet it was important for him to show support for the community.
“My presence gives people hope. When people are suffering and unhappy as a prophet I must pray with them and bridge peace to make sure that we avoid unnecessary deaths,” he said.
“The mayor was needed but he never showed up.”
Alex shut down committee member Sandile Mavundla said they planned to intensify their protest tomorrow.