Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Alex Total Shutdown: Protesters march to Sandton

Alex Total Shutdown Alexandra Herman MashabaThe protest continues, despite early morning rain.

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The Alex Total Shutdown protest movement continued today despite
a delayed start due to unfavourable weather conditions.

Pouring rain, which soaked Alexandra township over the weekend
and persisted on Monday morning, threatened to halt the planned protest action
which was due to start at 7:00. Disgruntled residents, unperturbed by the
gloomy conditions, started rallying on the streets amid a heavy police
presence.

Disruptions expected in Sandton and adjacent highways

Shutdown organiser, Sandile Mavundla, confirmed that the protesters intended to march peacefully to the affluent suburb of Sandton; a suburb widely regarded as South Africa’s wealthiest business hub. Shortly after 10:00, the procession got underway, with a handful of protesters flanked by Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officials. Protesters are due to arrive at the Region E offices and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Law enforcmenet agencies are warning motorist of possible disruptions in the vicinity of Alexndra and Sandton, particularly the N3 London off-ramp, Marlboro exit and M1.

Protests erupted last week Wednesday. All entry points into Johannesburg’s oldest township were effectively barricaded by boulders and burning debris. Protesters managed to reach the N3 highway, north of Johannesburg, resulting in serious traffic delays and disruptions. At least 13 people were arrested for their participation in the strike.

Alex Total Shutdown soldiers on

The Alex Total Shutdown protest, which has been openly
endorsed by the African National Congress (ANC) in ward 105, became acutely
politicised. The Democratic Alliance (DA), which currently governs the City of
Johannesburg, hit back at the ANC for inflaming socioeconomic tensions and
exploiting issues for political gain.

Protesters, however, have denied that their fight is a purely political one. Instead, the Alex Total Shutdown movement is a call to action against inadequate service delivery, rampant crime and illegal land occupations. Both political parties – the ANC and DA – have put the blame on one another, with no resolution being tabled.

Mayor Mashaba, who has noted the qualms of Alexandra
residents, did little to ease tensions when he snubbed an invitation to address
citizens last week. The movement’s ultimatum to Mashaba on Friday was clear;
address the residents or expect further protest action on Monday.

Despite imminent protest action, which now threatens to ‘shutdown’
Sandton, Mashaba has promised to meet with residents later this month.

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