JOHANNESBURG, April 12 – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said it was the responsibility of the Democratic Alliance-led City of Johannesburg to clean up Alexandra township and make sure the people have proper sanitation.
Ramaphosa, who was dressed in African National Congress (ANC) regalia, on Thursday addressed thousands of residents at the Alex Stadium. He was responding to concerns raised by residents regarding poor service delivery and the mushrooming of shacks.
Disgruntled residents at Alexandra had been protesting for more than a week. They had been demanding an audience with the mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, who has been a no-show.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura visited the area on Wednesday. Mashaba says he will meet the people of Alexandra on Monday.
“A mayor shouldn’t be scared of his people, he should be able to face the community, now he blames ANC,” Ramaphosa told the cheering crowd.
“There should never be excuses, if you’re failing, step aside so that others may step in.”
The president said he was not happy that every day there were protests. He implored Councillors and mayors to do their jobs and ensure the smooth running of municipalities.
“We will make sure that your Councillors and mayors work for you. The stealing of money must stop,” said Ramaphosa.
The commuters wanted illegal shacks, which were being built in any available space, to be removed because they were blocking off access to the area for emergency vehicles such as ambulances.
Ramaphosa said the government has an obligation to ensure that there were no illegal occupants who just unlawfully build or erect structures.
“Here in Alexandra, we are going to sort out the land issue, so that we will be able to build houses for you,” said Ramaphosa.
Raising the issue of unemployment in the area, Ramaphosa said: “We also know that many of you and your children aren’t employed, we’re working on it.”
He said there were companies that were ready to assist to reduce joblessness in Alexandra.
“Without putting blame on each other as leaders, we must go out and resolve the issues our people are faced with,” said Ramaphosa.
While many of the residents in Alexandra were happy with Ramaphosa’s address, some said they were disappointed.
“The ANC used this opportunity to campaign and not addressing our issues, I am so disappointed,” said a community member who only identified himself as “Mokati”.
Ramaphosa said he would make sure that the local, provincial and local government leaders meet with the mayor to address issues faced by the Alex community immediately. (ANA)