The City of Johannesburg’s MMC for public safety, Michael Sun, spoke out for the first time about how the treatment he received in Alexandra, one week ago, affected him.
As reported by EWN, the public safety MMC was deployed to the Joburg township to try and de-escalate a situation that was threatening to be violent.
Alex protests die down one week later
Alex residents had taken to the streets, in their hundreds, to voice out their frustrations with the provincial government.
An array of issues were raised by the protesters, including the lack of service delivery, the raging crime that gripped the community in fear, and the scourge of illegal housing structures.
At the time, the protesters had made demands for Joburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, to address them in person and accept a memorandum from the Alex shut down committee.
However, after the mayor had turned a deaf ear on those cries, Sun saw it fit to step in and perform his duties as a public servant of this country.
Michael Sun reflects on visit to Alex
What he had not anticipated was the reception he would receive, something that — looking on one week later — he says has left him and his family deeply angered.
The MMC was turned away by residents, who did not want to hear from anyone else but Mashaba. Sun says he did not understand, at the time, why the protesters felt the way they did about him.
“As soon as they (the protesters) saw me coming up [the truck], the booing had started, the racial slurs started. It was very unfortunate that the process was reduced down to a heckling process.
“But I stood up and tried my best to, at the top of my voice, communicate with the residents. The racial slurs were one thing but the insults… One guy made his fingers into a gun gesture and pointed to his head to say that he is going to shoot me… It was extremely shocking for me,” Sun said.
“My skin colour is my offence” – Sun
Tensions have since died down in the township. This came after the Gauteng premier, David Makhura, sat down with the Alex shut down committee to accept their memorandum.
Moreover, President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the Alex community about the protests and their issues on Thursday.
However, for Sun, the experience has scarred him and his family for a long time.
“What offence did I commit? I think whatever wrong I did was probably how I look. My skin colour was, you know, the offence that I ever committed,” the MMC added.