South Africa: Alexandra Residents Consider Taking Protests to Sandton to Get Mayor's Attention

Service delivery protests in Alexandra.

Residents of Alexandra have vowed to set tyres and rubble alight in Sandton and other neighbouring suburbs if City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba doesn't meet them soon.

Speaker after speaker at a community meeting on Friday morning vented their frustration at poor service delivery and slow change.

Many people questioned whether the only way to attract Mashaba's attention was by burning tyres in nearby Sandton - one of the country's most affluent suburbs and the financial heartbeat of Africa.

On Wednesday, thousands of Alexandra residents spilt onto the streets to protest for better services and improved living conditions. They burnt tyres and blockaded several major roads leading into the area.

Smaller protests were reported on Thursday and Friday morning.

Some of the residents who attended Friday morning's community meeting claimed that since taking over the mayoral chain, Mashaba hasn't brought any change to the area.

"We have mushrooming illegal land invasion, poor service delivery because of you. We want the dignity of Alexandra back," shouted one woman across the hall.

Other people accused Mashaba of prioritising suburbs such as Sandton.

"We are accused of not paying for services whenever we demand services. Mashaba is failing us. He is encouraging land invasion which is going on unabated daily," said a male speaker.

The convener of the Alexandra shutdown movement, Sandile Mavundla, accused Mashaba of disrespecting them.

"Yesterday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called him to address us and he refused. He is undermining and disobeying the president's orders.

"He is living in his own island and pretends not to know about problems that we have been raising with office for a while now.

"He doesn't care. Instead, he challenged the president to come here. What is he afraid of? He is our mayor and we are peaceful and demanding services," said Mavundla.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mashaba challenged Ramaphosa to name a "time and place" and he would be there to discuss the grievances and account for his administration's performance.

"Mr President it is your own party that has hijacked the legitimate grievances of this community ahead of the elections. It is, in fact, the ANC that promised the world to the community of Alexandra and delivered nothing for two decades," he wrote in the statement.

Meanwhile, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said it was disappointed that Mashaba had shunned residents' call to meet with them and discuss their concerns.

Sanco's Packet Seaketso said the organisation called on the mayor to do the right thing and meet with the residents.

"Service delivery concerns of residents of Alexandra cannot be politicised. They instead require to be given urgent attention to avoid unnecessary violence as residents become angry by the day.

"The mayor must be reminded that he is in charge of Johannesburg and does not therefore have an option but to account to the residents of Alexandra," said Seaketso.

Source: News24

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