Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Obed Bapela has taken the stand at the SA Human Rights Commission’s (SAHRC) Alexandra inquiry on Wednesday in Braamfontein. He is expected to table the amount of progress made by the inter-ministerial task team appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in April during Alexandra protests.
The task team is mandated to probe the demands of the residents of Alexandra, Ramaphosa told Alexandra residents, when he visited during a total shutdown on April 3 after roads leading in and out of the township were barricaded with burning tyres and rocks, as locals demanded better service delivery from the city of Johannesburg.
At the commission, Bapela began proceedings by outlining identified challenges. Some of the preliminary issues pointed out were land ownership, land availability constraints, limited development, unemployment, and local governance issues.
The commission heard how the task team was engaging different departments to ensure a turnaround for economic opportunities in the area.
He said a model to help the inquiry during engagements was needed and urged Alex residents to rest assured that government had plans to remodel Alexandra.
“Shacks built under electricity pylons and river lines are of a huge concern in Alexandra. The problems faced by the residents of Alexandra are as a result of rapid urbanisation.”
His testimony comes after Gauteng human settlement MEC Lebogang Maile refused to apologise and withdraw his statement that some of the questions asked were irrelevant and uninformed.
Things got heated at the inquiry on Tuesday when Maile testified about the billions of rands meant for the Alexandra Renewal Project, which allegedly went missing.
(Additional reporting by Gcina Ntsaluba and Anastasi Mokgobu)