The Alexandra Total Shutdown Committee has undertaken to temporarily suspend service delivery protests in the area following engagements with senior government officials on Wednesday.
The committee on Wednesday met with the President Cyril Ramaphosa-appointed Inter-Ministerial Task Team (IMTT) on Service Delivery to discuss the township’s challenges.
The President, following a visit to Alex, this week directed that the IMTT should within one week meet with the Alexandra Total Shutdown Committee and ensure the concerns raised by the community are addressed.
The IMTT comprises various ministries such as Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs, Police, Small Business Development, Home Affairs, Police as well as Rural Development and Land Reform.
The provincial government, represented by the Premier and MECs, was invited to give the IMTT an account of their meeting with the Alexandra Community following the visit to Alexandra by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
During the meeting, which the IMTT said was calm, cordial and conducted in a respectful manner, characterized by frankness, the Alexandra Total Shutdown presented its memorandum of grievances and challenges faced by the community. The document detailed service delivery challenges and the long term issues of reviving the town of Alexandra.
Amongst the issues raised were:
- Unresolved land issues and release of title deeds to unlock future development and court orders prohibiting building on the land;
- High demand for housing, illegal occupation of houses and other premises for unscrupulous money making schemes;
- Lack of refuse removal and illegal dumping of litter, resulting in intolerable stench and unhygienic conditions;
- Poorly kept parks, cemeteries and overgrown vegetation on the side of the roads.
- Poor service delivery, including challenges of sewerage spillage onto the streets, illegal connection of water, electricity and dangerous electric connections;
- Proliferation of illegal shacks and other structures in contravention of bylaws and failure of city officials to enforce bylaws. Failure to remove illegal structures and the mushrooming of shacks located under high voltage lines, river banks and flood plains, school premises and unused empty old factories;
- High crime rate and proliferation of large illegal weapons used in robbery and murder, making Alex too dangerous to raise families;
- Rapid increase in illegal and undocumented immigrants associated with crime, who are untraceable by law enforcement agents, and
- Need for economic upliftment and investment promotion for income generation and eradication of poverty unemployment and inequality.
“It was agreed that the committee will receive a report back next week after the proposed intergovernmental meeting,” Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Ministry spokesperson, Musa Zondi, said in a statement.
During the meeting, the IMTT directed that the City of Johannesburg be urged to urgently attend to the serious issues of service delivery falling under the responsibility of the municipality. These include sewerage spillage, illegal water and electricity connections, refuse removal, cutting of grass and overgrown vegetation, and the clearing of cemeteries.
“The City of Johannesburg is further urged to give urgent attention to the removal of illegal structures and halt the mushrooming of shacks and land invasion, in line with the city bylaws using existing capacity,” Zondi said.
He said the IMTT directed that the Ministry of Police visit Alexandra police stations and work with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster to enforce crime prevention measures with immediate effect.
“The IMTT encouraged all departments and spheres of government to undertake their own sectoral work and participate in the preparation for the intergovernmental meeting that will be held on 24 April, including the Gauteng province and the City of Johannesburg,” said Zondi.