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Alex protest timeline: Anger, ignored pleas, and threats

Protest action in Alexandra, Johannesburg, has been going on for almost a week.
Protest action in Alexandra, Johannesburg, has been going on for almost a week.
Image: Alon Skuy

For a week Alexandra protests have dominated headlines as residents bemoan the crime in the area and the lack of service delivery. Their pleas have gone unheard which has only heightened their determination, with fresh promises of action.

Here is a timeline of how the anger has increased and why.

Shutting down Alex 

From the early hours of the morning on April 3, residents of Alexandra township blocked roads and burnt tyres in a service delivery protest.  

The building of illegal structures and the lack of waste management were some of the grievances presented by the residents.

Gautrain users had to be sneaked out of the station in Marlboro after protesters blocked the road leading to the station. 

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLive that two "ring leaders" were arrested during the protests. 

Residents of Alexandra have escalated their plea for help with service delivery by taking it to President Cyril Ramaphosa, as they feel that Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba has failed them. Residents marched to the city's regional head offices in nearby Sandton on April 8 2019, calling on mayor Mashaba to come and speak to them.

Michael Sun visits Alexandra 

Protesting residents refused to meet with the Johannesburg mayoral committee member for public safety, Michael Sun, on April 3. 

The residents were not pleased with Sun's visit and demanded that mayor Herman Mashaba address the residents himself. 

The mayor expressed his sympathy for the residents but said the community leadership had not yet agreed to meet with him on April 4. 

Herman Mashaba to engage residents

On April 4 the mayor responded to a call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to address the people of Alex.

The city said they were waiting on the Alexandra community to confirm their availability to meet with Mashaba.

Mashaba (DA) said he could only account for two years of government in Alex. He added that Ramaphosa (ANC) would have to a give an account of more than 20 years of failure in Alex.

Alex turns into a political warfare 

The ANC and the DA have been pointing fingers at each other regarding the Alex protests.

The DA holds the position that the previous leadership in Johannesburg and the national government (both ANC) had failed the people of Alexandra.

ANC members such as elections manager Fikile Mbalula and ANC Gauteng premier David Makhura have taken to social media to call out Mashaba, accusing him of dragging his feet in responding to the Alex protests. 

DA Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga on Sunday lay criminal charges against the ANC for allegedly inciting violence in the protests.

Msimanga said the protest was organised by the ANC in order to influence the outcome of the general elections on May 8.

Residents take to Sandton 

On April 8, Alex residents marched from the township to the Sandton CBD demanding their grievances be heard.

They were also protesting to ask the government to address the issue of crime and substance abuse in Alex, EWN reported.

Makhura said on Twitter that he would visit the community on Tuesday April 9 and that Ramaphosa is expected to visit Alex on April 11. 

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