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‘No Excuses, Respond to the People of Alex,’ Ramaphosa Says in Ultimatum to Mashaba


APRIL 11, 2019. Johannesburg. "President Cyril Ramaphosa has told crowds of people in Alexandra that he was in the township on Thursday because he had listened to their pleas.Ramaphosa spoke to residents at the Alexandra Stadium after a weeklong protest over housing and crime. PHOTOGRAPH: ALON SKUY

President Cyril Ramaphosa has given an ultimatum to Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba to respond to the demands of the people of Alexandra in the next few days, saying he does not want to hear excuses.

Speaking to hundreds of people gathered in the township on Thursday, Ramaphosa commended the organisers of the #AlexTotalShutdown for raising issues facing the community.

He said he did not want to hear excuses from the DA mayor.

“I’ve seen sewage. Human waste is all over the streets here. And we cannot allow it. There was another town in the North West where sewage was running in the streets and finally we had to get the army to go and sort out the sewage,” said Ramaphosa.

Residents of Alexandra gathered in their numbers to hear President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, April 11 2019.

Residents of Alexandra gathered in their numbers to hear President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, April 11 2019. 
Image: Alon Skuy

“I have not yet reached that point where I would like the army to come here. I want to give the municipality a chance to come and sort out the sewage here in Alexandra,” he added. “I want to give the mayor and the municipality a chance, they must come and do it in the next few days,” he said.

There has been protests in the township for the past two weeks as residents complain about service delivery.

Protesters demanded that Mashaba address their concerns and he faced criticism when he sent his MMC for public safety, Michael Sun, instead.

Mashaba has since said he will be leading an engagement with the people of Alex on April 15. The mayor said that the meeting would allow him and the community to engage on budgets and service delivery.

The DA has been in office in Johannesburg since August 2016.

Ramaphosa said he saw the filth “with my own eyes” and that he wanted the DA-led municipality to sort it out.

“What has disturbed me was the filth that I see here in Alexandra. That is the responsibility for the local government,” he said. “Because all of us without blaming each other, all of us as leaders we must respond to the pain and suffering that our people are going through.”

The president’s visit to Alexandra was part of the ANC’s campaign to have the president visit different areas in Gauteng every week.

Ramaphosa also shared the concern of residents about foreigners erecting structures on the pavements in the townships.

He said South Africa was a country of law and order.

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