Johannesburg - The much anticipated "Alex Shut Down" began early Wednesday morning with hundreds of protesters marching to the City of Johannesburg regional offices in Sandton.
The protesters from Alexandra township also known as "Alex" were taking Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba to task for promising to rebuild "illegal" structures that were torn down by city authorities. They were also unhappy with the slow pace of fixing the ills in the area such as the leaking sewerage pipes, crime and grime.
Commenting on the protest, Mashaba said, "there can be no doubt that the Alex Shutdown Movement was a politically sponsored vehicle, driven for the purposes of the General Elections."
This was the second shut down protest in recent times.
Mashaba is a member of the Democratic Alliance and he is at logger heads with the African National Congress, which previously ran the city of Johannesburg. The mayor generally enjoys the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters.
Earlier protesters had blockaded roads in Alex, placed burning tyres in the streets and prevented residents from boarding taxis to work. There was a heavy police presence.
"We are going to the municipality offices in Sandton, but we want to pass the JSE and salute and show them the frustration of the people of Alex," said a convener of the Alex Shut Down march, Sandile Vundla.
"They need to come and work with the government and relieve the pressure from the government and redevelop Alex and do service delivery.
"The captains of the industries only came in suits on Mandela Day with bread and then say they did something for the people of Alex. We want them to invest properly in the youth of Alex and take them to tertiary so we can see the economy of the township growing.
"We said it to the mayor and the premier, we need him to come and listen to us and we will table all our issues so they can understand the frustrations of Alex people. Thereafter they need to do what's rights."
Vundla said President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to explain how much was released for the development of Alex and what happened to the money.
Vundla also took the opportunity to reject allegations that he had looted funds that were given to Alex.
"Why am I still so poor, my kids are still in school in the township. I'm even willing to open and disclose my accounts. Which political battle am I fighting for? Some people have power to influence so they say a lot. If this was political, the ruling party would have Sandton full."
African News Agency (ANA)