Alexandra timeline: From the shutdown to Herman Mashaba's address post-demolitions

05 June 2019 - 07:58
By Cebelihle Bhengu
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba promised houses to residents of Alexandra township after the demolitions.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba promised houses to residents of Alexandra township after the demolitions.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba  met with the community of Alexandra on Monday, following a demolition of houses by the Red Ants on Friday.

 The community resorted to weeks of protest action pre-elections, lamenting a lack of service delivery and corruption.

The ANC and DA  were at loggerheads for weeks amid the protests, with each blaming the other for the appalling state of the township.

Here is a lead-up to Mashaba’s recent meeting with the community:

Alexandra shutdown

The plight of Alexandra residents dominated social media platforms as the community took to the streets to protest the lack of service delivery, alleged illegal allocation of RDP houses to foreigners, as well as mushrooming illegal structures, including shacks. Hundreds of people rallied together and used the #AlexTotalShutdown to engage political leaders.

MMC rejected by community

In a bid to calm the situation, the city sent public safety MMC Michael Sun to address the community, but he was turned away as protesters demanded they be addressed by Mashaba. Mashaba had, at this point, issued a statement in which he said he “sympathises with the community” and acknowledged the shortage of about 300,000 houses.

Protests temporarily halted

The organisers of the #AlexTotalShutdown campaign halted the protests, claiming they had been tipped off about private security, which they felt would threaten the movement. 

Ramaphosa orders Mashaba to ‘sort it out’

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the community of Alexandra and instructed  Mashaba to engage with residents and see to their needs. Ramaphosa agreed that the people’s concerns were valid. “I have seen sewage. Human waste is all over the streets here and we cannot allow it. I want to give the municipality a chance to come and sort out the sewage in Alexandra.”

Alex leadership invites Mashaba

Protest organiser Sandile Mavundla extended an invitation to Mashaba, assuring him that the community would be more than willing to engage with him on burning issues. He said this in response to growing backlash aimed at Mashaba, who had not made any effort to engage the community. 

Address after demolitions

Mashaba, along with city officials, made his way to address the community whose houses were demolished by the Red Ants on Friday. He said when the incident took place he had been out of the country and was “shocked” by the images he saw on social media. Mashaba further accused the ANC of using a 2016 court order to carry out the demolitions and promised to rebuild the demolished structures.