This is just 'a lot of boardroom talk' - Alex resident reacts to SAHRC, Public Protector inquiry

The horrendous living conditions in Alexandra. (Ntwagaae Seleka/News24)
The horrendous living conditions in Alexandra. (Ntwagaae Seleka/News24)

A frustrated Alexandra resident says she doesn't have high hopes for the inquiry which the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and Office of the Public Protector are holding, to look into the community's plight.

"I believe that this is just talk. It's going to be a lot of boardroom talk, a lot of inquiries, but minimal action," Maria Moloi told News24.

Wearing a black T-Shirt bearing the slogan #TotalShutdown@Work, Moloi said residents had been talking for the longest time and nothing had been done for them.

She added this was why many people didn't attend the inquiry, which got under way at 10:45 on Monday at the Eastbank Hall in the area. About 150 people attended. According to Moloi, the main issues raised during protests in the area last month were illegal structures and electricity connections, as well as trading in the community.

"We were asking the officials and government where the law is, and how we, as a community, get assistance from the government in terms of upholding the law," she said.

READ: Troubled Alexandra votes without a glitch despite recent shutdown

She said illegal activities were now the norm in Alexandra and that the South African Police Service was not doing much to help the situation.

"We just want action to be taken, especially on those illegal structures because believe you me, the damage is vast. The damage is too big to measure. I don't know whether to say I hope to foresee changes. All I know is that this is boardroom talk and another way of buying [time].

"Right now, as we sit here discussing, someone out there is digging a foundation and building a new house, illegally. What about all those people of Alex who have been waiting for government to build them houses? Are they stupid, or is it because they don't have money?" a frustrated Moloi said.

She lamented that she felt she and her children did not have a future in the township.

READ: Alexandra is quickly deteriorating every minute - Community leader

SAHRC provincial manager Buang Jones said the inquiry would look into the impact of socio-economic conditions in Alexandra and their impact on fundamental human rights.

Among the issues that the commission would investigate was what the government had done to address residents' grievances, as well as allegations of maladministration and improper conduct concerning the Alexandra Renewal Project, Jones said.

The estimated budget for the Alexandra Renewal Project in 2011, which aimed to redevelop Alexandra, was R1.3bn over seven years.

The commission said it would also investigate what happened to the money.

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