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'Why don't you listen?' Tempers flare during Ramaphosa's Riverlea visit

Tempers flared during President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to Riverlea in the south of Johannesburg, where he interacted with professionals, civil society and business people.

A screengrab of a community member objecting to ANC member Danny Jordaan's running of a meeting during President Cyril Ramaphosa's election campaign visit to Riverlea on 14 March 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - Tempers flared during President Cyril Ramaphosa's visit to Riverlea in the south of Johannesburg, where he interacted with professionals, civil society and business people.

Packed into a small hall, community members shared their pain of living in a failed mining area that is now stalked by disease as a result of the mine dumps and unsealed mine shafts.

Ramaphosa was on the Gauteng leg of his campaign trail ahead of the 8 May elections.

The story is all too common - communities who feel let down by the democratic government. But Riverlea is a special case.

In 2017, a Benchmarks Foundation study found that 56% of the area's residents suffer from respiratory diseases because they live near the largest concentration of radioactive uranium on the planet.

They are also exposed to dangerous gases - arsenic, lead and uranium - yet no one has come to their aid as Felicia Folly explains.

"My daughter has asthma because of the mining... there's still illegal miners."

When he opened the meeting, Gauteng Premier David Makhura explained to the residents that there was still a lot of work to be done to address the community's concerns.

However, Angel Marule couldn't help but wonder if the sudden interest in the community was merely for electioneering purposes.

"It's a visit, especially towards the vote, it doesn't really have value for me. What happens after? That is the most important thing."

Ramaphosa has vowed that the sixth administration, that he hopes to lead if the African Nationla Congress (ANC) is voted into power, would address the residents' needs, promising to prioritise the needs of marginalised communities such as Riverlea.

WATCH: Tempers flare during Ramaphosa visit to Riverlea

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