City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s silence regarding a letter sent to him on Monday “reveals the politics behind the Alexandra protest”, he wrote in a statement on Thursday.
Enraged residents have been protesting since last Wednesday, calling for service delivery improvements, high levels of crime and the issue of illegal land use, among other issues.
Mashaba requested that instead of Ramaphosa visiting Alex residents on Thursday, that he consider organising a “real inter-governmental engagement” with residents at a later date.
— Herman Mashaba (@HermanMashaba) April 10, 2019
“My letter called for the president, premier, and myself, representing the three spheres of government, to account to the residents of Alexandra on the track record of delivery.”
Mashaba said that he requested confirmation of his request by Tuesday, but did not receive a reply, and no feedback on his idea to take an inter-governmental approach.
This is in light of Alex residents demanding to speak to Mashaba himself, to which Mashaba responded that he would visit Alex on April 12 and 15. City manager Ndivhoniswani Lukhwareni told residents during their march to the Region E head offices in Sandton that this was due to the mayor having long-standing issues in other communities.
Mashaba said the lack of reply came as no surprise. “It is desperate that the president and premier have stooped to hijacking the grievances of the residents of Alexandra.”
He also touched on Tuesday’s meeting with the Alex Total Shutdown committee and Gauteng Premier David Makhura, which he said served as another attempt to “hijack the protest from residents”.
“The silence in response to this call speaks volumes in respect of President Ramaphosa’s real intentions.”
Mashaba concluded his statement by reinforcing his commitment to meet with Alex residents on Monday to address their grievances.
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)