Alexandra community comes out in numbers in anticipation of Herman Mashaba's long-awaited visit

Alex residents chanting songs ahead of their scheduled meeting with Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Alex residents chanting songs ahead of their scheduled meeting with Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Just less than an hour before the beginning of a meeting between Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba  and Alexandra residents, Marlboro community hall was already packed to the rafters.

With banners written "we've been waiting since September 2018", the residents sang Struggle songs insulating the mayor. Some residents, however, refused to let the official proceedings to begin. Even city speaker Vasco da Gama's pleas with the group of Alex residents fell on deaf ears.

Residents of Alexandra on Monday packed a community hall as they waited for the arrival of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Residents of Alexandra on Monday packed a community hall as they waited for the arrival of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Since the first day of the protests that started just over two weeks ago, residents  had invited Mashaba to the township to address service delivery concerns. The mayor, however, did not go there and instead sent one of his MMCs, public safety councilor Yao-Heng Michael Sun. This left the community members enraged.

After failing to pitch up, the residents resorted to march to the Joburg City branch offices at the nearby Sandton and demanded that  Mashaba should be the one to  receive their memorandum.

It was, however, Gauteng premier David Makhura who received the memorandum on his behalf of the mayor. This fueled more anger as the residents felt Mashaba was snubbing them.

The residents want the city to deal with the mushrooming of shacks, poor refuse collection and lack of development, among other things, in the area.

On Sunday, Mashaba said he would visit Alexandra but was not scared of criminal elements.

The roads leading to the hall in the historic township saw a heavy police presence, while there was also traffic congestion.

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