CNS reporter
2 minute read
3 Apr 2019
2:49 pm

Herman Mashaba responds to #AlexTotalShutdown protests

CNS reporter

The mayor says he is deeply sympathetic to the challenges that residents are facing.

Protesters in Alexandra township in Johannesburg shut down the township over lack of service delivery, 3 April 2019. Roads were barricaded and blocked with burning tyres, as hundreds marched demanding better basic services. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

In a statement, Mashaba said he “deeply [sympathised] with the challenges experienced by the residents of Alex,” Alex News reports.

Mashaba added that for decades the Alex community had been continuously let down by previous administrations in the provision of housing and addressing migration into the community.

Since coming into office after the local government elections of 2016 after the Democratic Alliance (DA) formed a coalition with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Mashaba said they have faced numerous challenges with the government (ANC).

He claimed they had tried to engage with the government but their attempts had allegedly fallen on deaf ears.

Mashaba said the city’s service delivery progress under his administration included extending the opening hours of the River Park Clinic, the electrification of 686 stands in informal settlements in Alexandra, the allocation of R60 million over three years to complete the new Banakekelen Hospice and Clinic in Alexandra, the installation of 100 new streetlights in Alexandra and R20 million to be spent in 2018/19 for improvements of the Helen Joseph Hostel in Alexandra.

Later, in an interview on Power FM, Mashaba said: “Alexandra has been in shambles when we took over. We have put money into Alexandra. Right now we have contractors doing everything possible to ensure that hostels are fixed, particularly Helen Joseph Hostel. When we took over, the situation was unbearable.

“We are spending money here and there. We are fixing electrical infrastructure where people vandalise it immediately. Obviously, because of the number of people in such a small area, it becomes very difficult.”

Mashaba added that land invasions in the area were a problem. “When we took over this administration, the Alexandra housing backlog was massive. When you look at the land around Alexandra, unfortunately, we don’t have space any longer.

“Land invasion, as you are aware, is not something that just started yesterday or two years ago. It has been a huge issue in the city. We [are] sitting with over 200 informal settlements. When you remove someone from that land-invaded area you must find them alternative accommodation.”

He added that some people had been waiting for houses since 1994 and invaders could not jump the queue and get houses ahead of those people.

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