Johannesburg - Despite interventions from various government departments who have collaborated to find solutions to the daily challenges that Alexandra residents face, #AlexTotalShutdown said that officials do not have any idea of the bigger picture.
Speaking on Wednesday at the Braamfontein offices of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) after proceedings, Sandile Mavundla #AlexTotalShutdown leader said: “It is either most of the leaders have no idea what is going, they are downplaying it or they are trying to protect themselves."
Mavundla was making reference to Gauteng MEC of education Panyaza Lesufi’s submissions on the schooling system of learners in Alexandra.
“Although there have been eight days interrupted in total by the service delivery protests, there has always been a 97 percent attendance at our schools despite the socio-economic factors at play, we as the department pride ourselves on the conduct and results of the learners,” Lesufi said.
However Mavundla argued that the conduct of the learners was not as exceptional as the MEC painted it.
"Even if you go past the schools between 8am and 12pm, learners can be seen gallivanting in the area. It is a norm. There are always brutal fights and mischievous behaviour that learners have obviously learned from these protests,” he said.
He said that Gauteng human settlements MEC Lebogang Maile’s representation of the township was inaccurate.
“The MEC say there are no issues. But there is sewage all over, police hardly respond to our calls. This basic service delivery,” he said.
Maile told the inquiry on Tuesday that there was progressive development.
"I grew up in Alexandra. Someone who arrived in Alexandra five years ago will say there is no development, but those who have been there for years will tell you that there is development there and there," he said.
The Alexandra Inquiry was established after 80 illegal structures were demolished in Alexandra in April. The homes had been unlawfully built near Marlboro, close to the Gautrain rail bridge.
Deputy Cooperative Governance Minister Obed Bapela said in 2014 the population was 300 000 and it had increased to more than 600,000.
“We want to regain the former pride of Alexandra for the original settlers. They have been patient and it is high time something is done,” he said.
SAHRC panel chairperson Buang Jones said questions and enquiries would be sent to the various departments.
“The aim of the inquiry is to find the causes behind the protests, establish if the City of Johannesburg has engaged meaningfully with the residents of Alexandra and monitor the situation of housing to ensure that urgent and emergency housing was given to the affected parties," Jones said.
The Department of Cooperative Governance, Department of Community and Safety and the Department of Human Settlements gave their submissions to the inquiry which the SAHRC would look into.
African News Agency (ANA)