Herman Mashaba, executive mayor of the Johannesburg, is finally
set to address Alexandra residents on Monday.
April got off to a fiery start for Alexandra, as embattled residents
embarked on a Total Shutdown of Johannesburg’s oldest township. The protests, which
served as a call to action against poor service delivery and illegal land
occupations, saw roads barricaded with boulders and burning debris.
President Ramaphosa steps in
After being officially endorsed by the African National
Congress (ANC) in the region, the protest became a political battlefield, with
blame being passed from one party to the next. Naturally, the Democratic
Alliance (DA), which governs the City of Johannesburg, was quick to point out
the ANC’s failings.
Mayor Mashaba was scathing in his counterattack, arguing that the ANC had led Alexandra to ruin and had subsequently orchestrated the Alex Total Shutdown protest movement as a political ploy to undermine and tarnish the DA’s reputation. Protesters, however, have denied allegations of political subversion.
Ignoring calls for a public appearance, Mashaba did little
to alleviate tensions in the area. Even when protesters marched to the regional
offices in Sandton last week, Mashaba refused to engage. This left the door
wide open for the ANC.
Mashaba remains resolute
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has since denied that his appearance formed part of the party’s election campaign, addressed Alexandra residents on Thursday, labelling Mashaba’s claims as disingenuous and divisive. The president’s appearance was largely welcomed by the community, who voiced their disappointment in Mashaba and his ‘empty promises’.
Mashaba, who apparently met with various stakeholders on
Friday, resolved to engage the community on Monday as part of the integrated
development plan (IDP). The IDP deals
extensively with issues regarding service delivery, infrastructure and law
The mayor’s spokesperson has confirmed that the IDP meeting
would take place on Monday evening. Alex Total Shutdown organisers said that
they would engage with the mayor in an open and peaceful discussion.