Government will inject R90-million into Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, with some of the money ear-marked for the relocation and housing of residents from Stjwetla township along the Jukskei River, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale announced on Sunday.
“I come from this place, I know it. Comrades, we are not going to turn our backs on you. On the 18th we are going to elect councillors who are servants of the people and not the boss of the people,” he said to applause and cheers of Stjwetla residents, during an ANC election campaign.
The visit on Sunday followed a door-to-door campaign in Alexandra last week, where feedback suggested that no influential ANC leaders had recently visited the area.
The government had identified 12 hectares of land in Linbro Park, Botshabelo extension and Lombardy East for redevelopment.
He promised nearly R100-million in development funds for the area.
“Ninety-million rand, that’s what I am bringing today. It’s me at the top, I work with Nomvula [Mokonyane] and the MEC [provincial minister]. We sit together and look for the land. That R90-million must reach the ground. We must have earth movers, spades, fencing and bricks.”
“I am going to come back after the 18th and see the land, prepare it and move the first families in.”
Sexwale was accompanied by Humphrey Mmemezi, the provincial minister of local government and housing, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.
Prior to the announcement, Mmemezi promised residents “immediate redress” to the community’s housing problems.
The crowd — who appeared to not be impressed — gestured for him to sit down.
“We have heard that there are issues of people selling houses. I promise to sit with my officials because in truth we don’t want corruption,” Mmemezi continued.
He also promised those who had been waiting for years on the RDP [reconstruction and development programme) list, that he would visit the community next week to try and help them.
“Bring your proof. [of allocation]. I will send a message next week to say which dates we will be coming.”
Mokonyane said that the community’s problems were “not new,” and that her government had plans to buy land to build more houses.
“You have been living like this for a long time, we know your problems. We are here to help the whole of Alexandra, not just Stjwetla.”
She also promised that bulk services including gas, electricity and water would be sourced for Alexandra residents.
Earlier in the day, Malema encouraged residents to question ANC leaders.
“Today, we are not going to talk, we want the people of Stjwetla and Jukskei … We want ordinary people to tell us what they need,” he told the crowd, before allowing dozens of people to ask questions.
Holding a microphone, resident Johanna Moabi commented: “This is not a place for people. I live with my parents and children in one room. At night I have to walk home in the dark because there are no streetlights and I am afraid of being mugged. I want to know what you are going to do to help?”
‘We are crying here’
Another resident complained: “We are crying here in Stjwetla. Last year April I called premier Tokyo’s office and I spoke to this man called Maxwel Khoza, and to this day they have done nothing. I still live in a shack. Where is my house?
“I came here with proof of [registration for] my RDP house. This paper is proof that we are crying here. We are asking for help. Help us so we too can live like people.”
Oscar Modungwa said: “This place is like a pigsty. You’d swear pigs live here.”
Another resident added she had been voting ANC “forever”, but had not been “getting anything”. She said she had reached the point where one would see her wearing a Democratic Alliance T-shirt on TV.
Residents have demanded answers to their questions within seven days.
Earlier a branded ANC helicopter circled over Stjwetla township. Party supporters gathered on the banks of the Jukskei River singing struggle songs, including Ayesaba Amagwala and President Jacob Zuma’s Awulethu’ Mshini Wami (Bring me my Machinegun). They were also heard chanting “Kill the Boer” in English. – Sapa