Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba. File picture: Dumisani Sibeko/Independent Media
Johannesburg – The African National Congress (ANC) wanted former Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau to open the new R22 million clinic in Alexandra instead of incumbent mayor Herman Mashaba, which would have been against the wishes of city residents.

Mashaba had earlier cancelled his scheduled opening of the clinic on Tuesday after residents, some wearing ANC t-shirts, protested and blocked roads around the clinic. He accused the ANC of blocking health care service delivery after a letter was sent to the city by the party's ward 81 demanding that Tau oversee the opening of the clinic.

"In the letter the ANC stated that: the official opening ceremony can only take place on condition that it be conducted by the former City of Joburg Mayor, Parks Tau, or the former health MMC Nonceba Molwele," said Mashaba.

"Such a demand is a blatant attack on the democratic outcomes of last year’s elections and blurs the lines between party and state. The demand by the ANC had nothing to do with serving our residents but had everything to do with political grandstanding.

"The people of Johannesburg have already turned their back on the ANC, and will continue to do so unless the party learns to respect the will of the people and work together with this administration to better the lives of all our residents."

Mashaba said he had invited former MMC Molwele, as ANC leader, to take part in the opening of the clinic, "giving credit to the previous administration for starting the project'," he added.

The continuing tug of war between the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the city has been exacerbated by Mashaba's decision to can various city projects by the previous ANC administration, including the [email protected] programme, which Mashaba said it enriched a few members of the ANC patronage network.

The multi-million rand programme was designed to allow communities to partner with the city in the delivery of municipal services in their neighbourhoods. It was launched by the previous ANC administration in September 2014. Last week, [email protected] workers stormed the council chambers during a sitting and demanded to see Mashaba. They demanded that he reinstate the programme as it created jobs for the townships’ unemployed.

Announcing the canning of the programme earlier this year, Mashaba said: “Each project was outsourced to a middleman, known as a Capacity Support Agent [CSA], which effectively became a patronage network for the previous governing party. These CSAs would become rich overnight, while many in our communities remained without work opportunities”.

The ANC has accused Mashaba of reversing the progress it had made in job creation through the programme, and denied that [email protected] benefited a select few of its members.