Thu. Apr 18th, 2019

Alexandra Total Shutdown: Protests rock Johannesburg, roads barricaded

Alexandra Total Shutdown Johannesburg protestsJohannesburg motorists, particularly those traveling to and from the Sandton area, are urged to avoid Alexandra.

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Update: Alex Total Shutdown: Protesters move to block Johannesburg N3 highway

Protesters took to the streets of Alexandra in the early
hours of Wednesday morning; roads have been barricaded and Johannesburg
motorists are being urged to travel with caution.

The protest, which was planned on Monday evening, received support from the local African National Congress (ANC), which urged all residents to take part in the peaceful shutdown. Disgruntled residents are unhappy with the lack of adequate service delivery to their community, blaming City of Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, for turning a deaf ear to their grievances.

Alexandra Total Shutdown

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, confirmed that law enforcement was alerted to early morning activity, noting that a ‘small group’ of protesters were in the process of barricading roads with rocks and burning debris. Minnaar said that some of the demonstrators, who were burning tyres on Lenin Road, Vasco Road and 4th Avenue, were promptly arrested.

Residents say that Alexandra Township – one of the oldest in the country – has been ignored by the governing Democratic Alliance (DA). A pamphlet, which was printed as a call to action, cites illegal land invasions, dangerous utility connections and a general lack of municipal help as main causes for the discontent. The statement also noted, explicitly: “no demolitions or burning of already existing government infrastructure and properties (cars, businesses) of our people”.

Johannesburg protests: Traffic disruptions

Minnaar advised Johannesburg motorists, particularly those
traveling to and from the Sandton area, to avoid Alexandra and exercise caution
while driving on the N3 Marlboro and the Old Pretoria main road. According to on-the-ground
reports, the Gautrain terminal in Marlboro is still operational but shuttles ferrying
passengers to the station have been disrupted.

Protesters have urged fellow community members to stay away
from work for today, as to not put themselves in danger. It’s also reported
that local spaza shops have chosen to close their doors for the day, for fear
of looting and xenophobic violence.

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