ALEXANDRA HEARINGS: City of Johannesburg says ‘we deliver in Alex’: residents cry ‘rubbish’

ALEXANDRA HEARINGS: City of Johannesburg says 'we deliver in Alex': residents cry 'rubbish' By Bheki C. Simelane @colibheki

15.5.2019

ALEXANDRA HEARINGS: City of Johannesburg says 'we deliver in Alex': residents cry 'rubbish' By Bheki C. Simelane colibheki

Despite widespread protests in April 2019, officials from the City of Johannesburg have painted a glowing picture of service delivery levels in the area. Addressing the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and Public Protector hearings into Alex on 15 May 2019, they used sophisticated slide diagrams to rebut widespread assertions that they had failed residents of the area.

But, Lukhwareni said, it was difficult to manage the waste backlog if they missed a single day.

The SAHRC’s Fitzgerald wanted to know how waste was collected in areas that were inaccessible to trucks. Housing Director Thabo Maisela said mini-excavators were used to access such areas. Fitzgerald also wanted to know how refuse bags were delivered to such places, Maisela said they established pick-up points where those whose homes cannot be accessed can collect their bags.

Makoro said no part of Alexandra fell outside the demarcation area, which disproved suggestions that not every area received waste collection services in the township – an assertion that would appear to be contradicted by the very visible trash that accumulates in Alexandra.

How many cases of sewage blockages in Sandton have been left unattended for a year?” Human Rights Commission Senior Legal Officer, Matthew du Plessis asked. Johannesburg Water’s Ntshavheni Mukwevho said he could not recall any. But 5,000 sewage blockages were reported annually in Alexandra.

Why is it that five years later we are still waiting for an assessment report on this one place which is the Alexandra women’s hostel?” Du Plessis asked.

The city had made a promise to quantify and make available budgets for the advancement of development of the Alexandra women’s hostel, but Maisela could not give a clear answer when asked about the existence at the hostel of a hostel policy.

City officials denied that there was any real money transfer regarding the ARP funds, and told the enquiry that they never received the money. They said they were still busy quantifying what was done with what money, and what wasn’t done that was supposed to have been done.

Vusumuzi Dlamini, Senior Legal Officer in the office of the Public Protector, was not satisfied. He said that each time he asked questions seeking to trace the money trail, city officials deflected his attempts.

While the city painted a beautiful picture of their achievements in Alexandra, residents say their troubles were piling up. Violet Mfobo, 66, said she was ashamed to call the Helen Joseph Hostel by name because it was an insult to the Struggle icon. She said it was annoying that shabby dwellings like shacks and ruined hostels were called after South Africa’s Struggle heroes and heroines. Mfobo has lived at the women’s hostel all her life and said things were “much better” during apartheid.

Read more: Daily Maverick

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