NEWS ANALYSISThe wrangling around the #AlexShutDown protests has exposed pre-election politics in all its gritty pettiness.
Amid the noise of a mayor who would not face residents of his city, a governing party shutting its eyes to its own past failures and accusations being flung around of orchestrated discontent, the fact remains that the plight of the people of Alexandra continues to be dire, a quarter-century into democracy.READ MORE: Ramaphosa addresses Alexandra, says he thought Mashaba would have come firstOne of the country’s oldest townships in South Africa’s largest city took centre stage this week when a group of protesters made their way across the highway into the richest square mile on the continent, Sandton, to hand over a memorandum to the Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba.
Last Friday, Municipal IQ, a data and intelligence service, announced a record high number of service delivery protests countrywide in the first quarter of 2019. By the end of the week, protests had erupted in Tshwane, Khayelitsha, Kroonstad and Orange Grove in Johannesburg.
READ MORE: Tshwane residents join nationwide protest actionMunicipal IQ said the uptick in protest action was expected as communities make the most of the opportunity to draw politicians’ attention to their plights ahead of the key polls on May 8.The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) have accused the ANC of instigating the Alex protests — with the EFF warning the governing party that its conduct could lead to the country being set alight as the discontent spreads.
The response by various spheres of government to the Alex protests illustrated poor intergovernmental relations and a lack of trust between the DA-led City of Johannesburg and the ANC provincial government.