City of Joburg tells Alexandra inquiry that it is delivering

Manager says there are several rolling projects in place to improve conditions in township

City of Johannesburg tells Alexandra inquiry that it is delivering

14 May 2019

It is not true that the level of service delivery has dropped in embattled Alexandra, the City of Johannesburg has told the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Office of the Public Protector.

City Manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni appeared before an inquiry panel on Tuesday, headed by the chapter nine institutions, where he submitted that there were several rolling projects in place to improve the socio-economic conditions of Alexandra.

The SAHRC and the Public Protector are probing Alexandra's challenges, following violent protests in the area in April.

"The household waste is still collected seven days a week and the issue of illegal dumping happens from Monday to Friday," Lukhwareni submitted.

He said the City would, however, occasionally experience a dilemma when they missed a day in delivering waste picking services in areas, making it difficult to catch up.

Lukhwareni argued that this was the case during the protests, where the pile-up became too much for the City to keep up with.

"By the time of the shutdown, there was a lot that was missed. We missed a lot of days and we had to go back to clean and we have almost caught up by now," he said.

While there were submissions from residents on Monday regarding land occupations and illegal structures in the township, Lukhwareni said the City was reporting and dealing with the occupiers.

He cited that land occupation needed proper planning and there was a hotline number for people to report them so that action could be taken.

"We are aware of land invasion and we do report them but reporting is not enough," he said.

He said illegal structures built in hazardous areas were also being attended to, adding that the City was, on a regular basis, engaging with residents who built such structures and also demolishing them.

"The communities must also play part and the councillors must also play part.

We do go there [to demolish], but it's not possible for us to do it in a way that we are there all the time," he said.

He added that Johannesburg had 131 wards all of which had their own unique problems.

On Monday, residents also complained about an abandoned cemetery. However, Lukhwareni said that after fencing had been placed there, residents stole it.

While delivering his submission, Lukhwareni referred to a slide presentation which showed, among other things, pictures of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department removing illegal structures in the township and also showed all the services he was mentioning.

He said while residents argued about the reduced level of service to the townships, the slides were able to prove to the panel the times and places where services were delivered.

Lukhwareni submitted that while residents had given the panel the impression that the City was not interacting with the community, this was not the case. He stated that they met with councillors several times.

The inquiry continues and the office of the Gauteng premier is also expected to make a submission.

On Wednesday, the inquiry is expected to conclude with submissions from the Department of Human Settlements, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.