African National Congress (ANC) election posters are seen on street poles in Alexandra township
African National Congress (ANC) election posters are seen on street poles in Alexandra township

Life gets tougher in Alexandra

By Roland Mpofu Time of article published Apr 16, 2019

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An Alexandra grandmother who has been living in the township north of Johannesburg for more than half a century said she never expected that 25 years into democracy she would be still toyi-toying on the streets for better living conditions.

Daphne Ramushu said she has been a resident in this improvised location since she was born more than 50-years ago and, last week she, together with scores of Alexandra residents, took to the streets in what they called a complete “shutdown” in protest for service delivery.

“I will tell you that this place before 1994 was not as dirty and as crowded like this,” she said.

“You hardly saw rats around or running sewage on the streets. The streets were clean and wide. Now people have built on pavements and there is filth all over,” she said

Ramushu said the shutdown was reminiscent of the 1976 and 1986 protests which took place in many formerly black and coloured townships, including Alexandra. She said the only difference was that in the recent protest there were no casualties or destruction of property.

“This protest was one of the biggest protests to take place in this location in recent times.

“I will say the protest of the 1976 where students took to the streets in protest of being taught Afrikaans was very violent. I also remember in 1986 there was a six-day war in this place. It was about gangsterism.

“There was a group of gangs who wanted to invade Alex and people got fed up and took the law into their hands.

“So here in Alex we started fighting from way back. But in this latest protest the good thing is that no one was killed and no property was destroyed. I think the organiser did a good job,” said the grandmother of three.

            Ramushu has been a resident in Alexandra township since she was born.

Ramushu claimed that the apartheid government took away their title deeds adding that this is also one of their grievances they want sorted out by the DA-led government which is running the city.

Reacting to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s visit, she said it was a good thing that he had come to calm the situation.

“I think the president did a good thing to come and address us because the situation was going to get even worse.

“As for the Mayor Herman Mashaba I think he missed a golden opportunity by refusing to come and address us. He could have come and told us what was his plan of action in addressing our grievances,” said Ramushu.

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