NEWS & ANALYSIS

ANC thuggery takes centre stage at Alex IDP session - Herman Mashaba

Joburg mayor says it turns out that disaffected tenderpreneurs are driving protests

ANC Thuggery Takes Centre Stage at Alexandra IDP Session

15 April 2019

The disruption of the Alexandra IDP session this evening is a clear demonstration of the thuggery that has characterised the ANC’s hijacking of legitimate community grievances.

It is two decades of ANC failure, broken promises and rampant corruption which, ironically, they now seek to use against the multi-party government in Johannesburg.

The City of Johannesburg was committed to engage the legitimate concerns of the people of Alexandra during the IDP session.

It was a process that was engineered to have the concerns of the residents of Alexandra coupled with the plans of government, breaking away from the past in which promises were never backed by budgets, plans or deliverables.

Soon after the meeting started, a group of people aligned to the #AlexShutDown movement, began disrupting the meeting.

They were a minority in the venue but they refused to relent and allow the proceedings to get underway.

Even after the memorandum of grievances were handed over, the disruption continued. It was clear that they didn’t want ordinary people to speak, and they did not want government to listen. Their only interest was in preventing this engagement from taking place.

The tragedy is that many of the legitimate issues raised in the memorandum received are the very matters that were to be addressed by way of real solutions during tonight’s IDP session.

The truth has begun to come out from the City’s forensic investigation. The leaders of the #AlexShutDown movement are the directors of a company called the Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative.

These individuals left a company, Altitude Pty Ltd, who was contracted to provide community liaison services for the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP), and started the Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative. They were then awarded a contract to continue this work from April 2015, earning around R161 000 per month.

In February 2019, the Johannesburg Development Agency gave notice that this contract would not be extended beyond June 2019 as the funding had ceased from Provincial Government.

It is therefore no coincidence that the directors of the Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative are the ring-leaders of the protests in Alexandra. It has nothing to do with the genuine needs of the people of Alexandra, but the extent to which the ARP has funded politically connected people at the expense of service delivery.

How else could you explain the Ditlodi Community Development Cooperative receiving money in 2019 for the ARP ground to a halt in 2006?

The actions of these thugs are silencing the voices of ordinary people in Alexandra, whose lived experience has not improved under democracy in South Africa.

The City of Johannesburg remains dedicated to ensure that the needs of Alexandra are catered for in the 2019/20 budget and that we can work together to undo the broken promises, failed delivery and rampant corruption of the last 25 years.

The City recognises the legitimate concerns of the residents of Alexandra, including:

- Access to sustainable human settlements given the overcrowding of Alexandra and the impact this has on the already strained infrastructure. Hostels are of particular concern.

- Access to health care and social services including assistance for substance abuse and related problems.

- Improved safety and security including by-law enforcement with particular reference to illegal dumping.

- Improved service delivery and the provision of basic services. Areas requiring attention include the condition of roads, access to electricity, water and sanitation, as well as refuse collection.

- Economic development including the lack of job opportunities and support for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

Our multi-party government has begun the effort to address these concerns and turn the situation around in Alexandra. We can speak to a record our predecessors simply cannot:

- In the 2018/19 financial year, R20 million was allocated for the refurbishment of the Helen Joseph Hostel and R15 million for the refurbishment of the Madala Hostel. Contractors have been appointed and engagements with the residents are underway.

- The opening of 2 new clinics in Alexandra (River Park and Thoko Mngoma) with a third to be opened in the coming weeks (4th Avenue);

- R45 million has been allocated for the building of the Banakekelen Clinic over the next 3 years.

- The extending of clinic operating hours at the River Park Clinic;

- The provision of substance abuse treatment facilities at the River Park Clinic;

- The City is in the process of training an additional 1500 JMPD officers. These officers, to be deployed in October this year, will improve by-law enforcement and visible policing.

- The City has developed an updated Illegal Dumping Strategy, with increased penalties for offenders, to be finalised by the end of the financial year.

- Through the 2018/19 Adjustments Budget the City made increased allocations to road resurfacing, water- and sewermains replacement, as well as for the electrification of informal settlements.

- Included in this was R20 million for the upgrade of the Vasco da Gama substation to normalise electricity supply in Alexandra.

- Pikitup is finalising the introduction of a second weekly refuse collection round in Alexandra. This is scheduled to begin this week.

- The City is on track to open the Alexandra Opportunity Centre before the end of the 2018/19 financial year. This facility will be used to provide a basket of services included skills development opportunities and SMME support to residents.

- The City will be completing the Alexandra Automotive Hub before the end of the financial year. R13.5 million was allocated in the Adjustments Budget to allow for this.

We will ensure that the voices of the people of Alexandra are heard and that the multi-party government is responsive to the needs of its residents.

Statement issued by Cllr Herman Mashaba, Executive Mayor, City of Joburg, 15 April 2019