Alexandra Total Shutdown: Protests Rock Johannesburg, Roads Barricaded

Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, confirmed that law enforcement was alerted to early morning activity, noting that a ‘small group’ of protesters were in the process of barricading roads with rocks and burning debris. Minnaar said that some of the demonstrators, who were burning tyres on Lenin Road, Vasco Road and 4th Avenue, were promptly arrested.

Alexandra Total Shutdown: Protests Rock Johannesburg, Roads Barricaded-Surge Zirc SA
Alexandra/Photo File: Google

Protesters took to the streets of Alexandra in the early hours of Wednesday morning; roads have been barricaded and Johannesburg motorists are being urged to travel with caution.

The protest, which was planned on Monday evening, received support from the local African National Congress (ANC), which urged all residents to take part in the peaceful shutdown. Disgruntled residents are unhappy with the lack of adequate service delivery to their community, blaming City of Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, for turning a death ear to their grievances

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Johannesburg Metro Police Department spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, confirmed that law enforcement was alerted to early morning activity, noting that a ‘small group’ of protesters were in the process of barricading roads with rocks and burning debris. Minnaar said that some of the demonstrators, who were burning tyres on Lenin Road, Vasco Road and 4th Avenue, were promptly arrested.

Residents say that Alexandra Township – one of the oldest in the country – has been ignored by the governing Democratic Alliance (DA). A pamphlet, which was printed as a call to action, cites illegal land invasions, dangerous utility connections and a general lack of municipal help as main causes for the discontent. The statement also noted, explicitly: “no demolitions or burning of already existing government infrastructure and properties (cars, businesses) of our people”.

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Minnaar advised Johannesburg motorists, particularly those traveling to and from the Sandton area, to avoid Alexandra and exercise caution while driving on the N3 Marlboro and the Old Pretoria main road. According to on-the-ground reports, the Gautrain terminal in Marlboro is still operational but shuttles ferrying passengers to the station have been disrupted.

Protesters have urged fellow community members to stay away from work for today, as to not put themselves in danger. It’s also reported that local spaza shops have chosen to close their doors for the day, for fear of looting and xenophobic violence.

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