Protest 'ringleaders' linked to Alex Renewal Project contract: Mashaba
The "ringleaders" behind ongoing protests in Alexandra are associated with a company that benefited from a soon to be terminated contract to provide community liaison services for the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday that "alarming information is coming forward, proving the vested interests of the leaders of the #AlexShutDown movement" since he announced a forensic investigation into the ARP.
Mashaba got a hostile reception when disgruntled residents refused to be addressed by him in Alexandra – where they have been protesting against poor service delivery – on Monday. He has been heavily criticised by residents and political leaders for not meeting residents of Alexandra immediately after the protests started on April 3.
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Mashaba alleged in a statement on Wednesday that certain "leaders" of the shutdown movement were directors of a company called the Ditlodi Community Development Co-operative.
"These individuals left the employ of a company, Altitude Pty Ltd, which was contracted to provide community liaison services for the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).
"They left the company shortly before the expiry of the contract between this company and the ARP, and immediately started the Ditlodi Community Development Co-operative. Within a matter of two months they were then awarded a contract to continue the community liaison work for the ARP from April 2015, earning around R161,000 per month," he said.
Through a series of extensions, the contract continued running until present times. But in February 2019, the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) gave notice that the contract would not be extended beyond June 2019, as funding for it had ceased from the provincial government.
Mashaba claimed it was "no coincidence" that the directors of the company were the "ringleaders" of the protests in Alexandra. He said one of them was an ANC ward councillor.
He suggested that the ARP had been used to fund politically connected people at the expense of service delivery, even after the project ground to a halt in 2006.
"What is clearly emerging is that the events in Alexandra over the past two weeks have little to do with the very legitimate grievances of the people of Alexandra. The protests have hijacked these grievances and have been used to protect the financial interests of [certain] people," he said.