City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.

Johannesburg - Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Thursday that the city had experienced a sharp increase in the number of service delivery disruptions on capital projects, and that the disruptions were led by ANC-aligned business forums. 

The forums claimed to have the monopoly on the construction work in the projects, said Mashaba. 

"As recently as yesterday, the ANC took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement of defending the local business forum opposed to the opening of the Montclare Opportunity Centre today," said Mashaba. 

Most recently, the city received threats of the destruction of the Alexandra Opportunity Centre, which was opened on Tuesday. 

The disruptions were violent, often involving weapons, and were intended to intimidate service providers to the point where they left the construction site, effectively halting progress, said the mayor. 

"The refurbishment of Rea Vaya Station in Thokoza Park, Soweto; the Opportunity Centre in the Soweto Empowerment Zone, Diepkloof; the refuse collection rounds of Pikitup at the Zondi Depot; the building of a balancing tank by Joburg Water at Bushkoppies; the sewer plant upgrades by Joburg Water at Olifantsvlei and the Eldorado Park Substance Abuse facility have been violently disrupted recently."

Mashaba said it was "clearly a practice" in the city's former ANC-led administration that the business forums were handed work in the major capital projects. 

"I am certain that this was just a part of the extensive political patronage network that characterised the previous administrations in Johannesburg."

"We are committed to ensuring that contractors in these capital projects source local sub-contractors and labour. This is a principle that the multi-party government supports as a small yet important component of our work in providing economic opportunities," said Mashaba. 

He said he had directed the city manager to ensure that all departments and municipal entities worked with the Johannesburg metro police to safeguard work on the projects. 

Mashaba said when confronted with armed business forums disrupting projects and threatening the lives of contractors and officers, metro police would respond with "commensurate force".

Criminal cases had been laid in respect of the disruptions, he said, and the Hawks would also be approached to investigate. 

"We will not stand by and allow politically connected criminality to prevent our multi-party government performing its mandate to correct decades of failed service delivery."

African News Agency (ANA)