Ramaphosa’s silence reveals politics behind Alex protest – Herman Mashaba

Joburg mayor says there can be no question that legitimate grievances of residents have been hijacked by ANC

President Ramaphosa’s Silence Reveals the Politics behind the Alexandra Protest

10 April 2019

Upon learning of the President’s visit to Alexandra scheduled for Thursday, I wrote to President Ramaphosa on Monday.

My request in the letter was simple. Please call off your political rally in Alexandra and let’s organise a real inter-governmental engagement with the residents of Alexandra.

My letter called for the President, Premier and myself, representing the three spheres of government, to account to the residents of Alexandra on the track record of delivery.

I asked for confirmation by close of business yesterday, 9 April 2019, of the President’s intent to change his approach.

It comes as no surprise to me that I have not received a reply from President Ramaphosa, let alone a confirmation of a real inter-governmental approach to the residents of Alexandra.

There can be no question that the legitimate grievances of the residents of Alexandra have been hijacked by the ANC. It is desperate that the President and Premier have stooped to hijacking the grievances of the residents of Alexandra.

Indeed, just yesterday, it is reported that Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, expelled the South African Human Rights Commission from his meeting with the #AlexTotalShutDown committee, no doubt because the meeting served only as an engagement between ANC members attempting to hijack the protest from residents.

The ANC is frantic in its efforts to avoid the accountability of decades of failed promises in Alexandra dating back to President Mbeki. The Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP) promised the world to the residents of Alexandra and delivered little as the funds appeared to be redirected away from service delivery and towards corruption.

My call to President Ramaphosa was an effort to ensure that we transcend the politics in Alexandra that are masking the need for spheres of government to work together to address the lived experienced of its residents.

The silence in response to this call speaks volumes in respect of President Ramaphosa’s real intentions.

The multi-party government will continue to work towards working with the residents of Alex to bring much needed development to the community.

To date, we have invested in:

·       Electrification of 686 stands in informal settlements in Alexandra;

·       The extension of operating hours in the library serving Alexandra;

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

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

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

·       R60 million over 3 years to complete the new Banakekelen Hospice and Clinic in Alexandra;

·       R20 million in 2018/19 which will begin the construction of the Alexandra Sports and Youth Development Safe Hub;

·       R80 million being spent in the 2018/19 financial year by Joburg Water on replacing water and sewer pipes in Alexandra;

·       The construction of the Joe Nhlanhla pedestrian bridge in the 2018/19 financial year;

·       The completion of the Alexandra Automotive Hub in 2018/19 as a job creation initiative in Alexandra;

·       The Alexandra Opportunity Centre will open in 2018/19 providing support to SMMEs in Alexandra;

·       The completion of Jukskei Water Management Plan to protect people and property close to the Jukskei River in times of flooding;

·       The installition of 100 new public lights in Alexandra; and

·       R20 million to be spent in 2018/19 on improvement of the Helen Joseph Hostel in Alexandra.

Despite the refusal of National and Provincial Government to work with the City of Johannesburg in the interests of the residents of Alexandra, we remain committed to hearing their concerns at our IDP session on Monday 15 April 2019 and collectively working together to address the needs of Alex. 

Issued by Luyanda Mfeka, Director: Mayoral Communications, 10 April 2019