Alex Shutdown leaders to open case against mayor Herman Mashaba

19 June 2019 - 15:48 By Iavan Pijoos
Several roads in and around Alexandra were blocked with burning tyres and rocks on Wednesday morning.
Several roads in and around Alexandra were blocked with burning tyres and rocks on Wednesday morning.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

The leaders of the #AlexShutdown protest arrived at the Alexandra police station on Wednesday afternoon to open a case against Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.

"We are opening the case against Mashaba for violating the court order we obtained which prevents people from building illegal structures in the area," convener Sandile Mavundla said.

Alexandra residents marched to Johannesburg's Region E offices in Sandton in the morning to hand over a memorandum of grievances. However, no city representative was available to address them at the offices.

Several roads in and around the area were blocked with burning tyres and rocks.

"We are marching for the unanswered request for service delivery, the illegal structures and development. There is a lot happening on the ground in Alex.

"It is an uprise to show that people are really frustrated. You have a trillion-rand investment suburb [Sandton] in Africa, but across from it you have poor people in Alexandra who are living in poverty. The area is not being properly serviced by the municipality," Mavundla said.

Previously, Mashaba has been heavily criticised by residents and political leaders for not meeting Alexandra residents immediately after the protests started back in April.

Mashaba said at the time the protests in Alexandra were a "politically sponsored vehicle, driven for the purposes of the general elections".

Mashaba claimed the leaders of the #AlexShutdown movement were directors of a company called the Ditlodi Community Development Co-operative, a replacement for Altitude, which was contracted to provide community liaison services for the Alexandra Renewal Project (ARP).

He said in February 2019, the Johannesburg Development Agency gave notice that this contract would not be extended beyond June 2019, as the funding had ceased from provincial government.

"It is therefore no coincidence that the directors of the Ditlodi Community Development Co-operative are the ringleaders of the protests in Alexandra."

"While there is no question that the people of Alexandra live in appalling conditions, and that these conditions are, at least in part, a product of the rampant looting of the ARP, the multi-party government has worked to effect change in Alexandra," Mashaba said.

In April, Mavundla confirmed he was a director of the Ditlodi Community Development Co-operative, but said Mashaba's statements were a "fabrication".

"The contract is still on, so his statements are baseless. I am residing in Alex and when there are issues that concern Alex people, I am a leader of my own right in Alex and not Ditlodi.

Mashaba's spokesperson, Luyanda Mfeka, said they would not comment on the case being opened.

"Nothing has changed. Our comment remains the same."

Mashaba acknowledged on the eve of the protests that the people of Alexandra have legitimate, long-standing and deep-seated grievances about how they were being treated.

He said their living conditions and lack of housing opportunities were a product of how funds intended for Alexandra had been pillaged with impunity for decades.

Mashaba said neither himself nor any representative of the city would engage the #AlexShutdown movement on Wednesday, "as their interests are not those of the legitimate residents of Alexandra".