JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said it was the responsibility of the DA-led City of Johannesburg to clean-up Alexandra township and ensure residents had adequate sanitation.
Ramaphosa made the statements while addressing locals at the Alex Stadium earlier in the day. Thousands of people had gathered to raise concerns over service delivery failures with the president, who was clad in ANC colours.
Disgruntled residents have been protesting for over a week as part of a 'total shutdown' of the township, which sits alongside the heavily moneyed suburb of Sandton.
Raw sewerage has been flowing through some of the streets of Alex and rubbish strewn in the area poses a potential health threat.
Residents initially demanded Johannesburg's DA mayor Herman Mashaba address them.
Mashaba and the EFF have said that the protests are part of an ANC plot to throw the area into disarray before next month's general election. Mashaba has indicated he will visit Alex on Monday.
"A mayor shouldn't be scared of his people, he should be able to face the community, now he blames ANC," said Ramaphosa.
"There should never be excuses, if you're failing, step aside so that others may step in."
Ramaphosa said he was not happy with daily protests in the area.
"We will make sure that your councillors and mayors work for you. The stealing of money must stop," said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa said government had an obligation to ensure that there were no illegal occupants who unlawfully built or erected structures on land.
"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.
Speaking about unemployment, Ramaphosa said: "We also know that many of you and your children aren't employed, we're working on it."
"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 were happy with Ramaphosa's promises, some expressed disappointment.
"The ANC used this opportunity to campaign and not address our issues, I am so disappointed," said community member Mokati.
Ramaphosa said he would ensure that leaders from local, provincial and national government met to immediately address issues faced by residents.