Alexandra residents march to Sandton

Undeterred by the rain, demonstrators have been arriving at the local multi-purpose centre since early this morning.

Police confiscate tyres from Alexandra protesters on the Grayston Bridge on 8 April 2019. Picture: Ayanda Nyathi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Protesters in Alexandra are marching to the Sandton local municipal offices where they have vowed to make their voices heard.

Undeterred by the rain, demonstrators have been arriving at the local multi-purpose centre since early this morning.

They are calling for an end to the rampant crime in the area and want the government to take action against youth unemployment and widespread substance abuse.

The march to Sandton is officially underway and moving quite rapidly through the township.

Alexandra total shutdown movement convener Sandile Mavundla says there’s a clear plan of how to proceed.

Protesters, singing in union, are sending out a clarion call for residents to stand firm until their demands are met.

Meanwhile, several school pupils are roaming the streets of Alexandra, claiming that they have been turned away from class as some schools in the area are being closed for the day.

POLICE INTERVENTION

JMPD officers in Alexandra say that they opted to step in and monitor the march to Sandton for the safety of motorists.

Protesters have brought Grayston Drive to a complete standstill as they soldier on to the local municipal offices in Sandton as promised.

A brief scuffle broke out between protest leaders and police a short while ago.

The law enforcement officers threatened to end the mass action if protesters refused to handover all tyres in their possession.

True to their promise, Alexandra residents marched from their homes in the township to the streets of Sandton.

It has been a remarkable morning so far, with major routes in the richest square mile in Africa being brought to a complete stop by some of the poorest members of our society.

Motorists have been forced to make way for a determined crowd, resolute to arrive at the municipal offices in Sandton.

With the help of the police, protesters have managed to navigate the busy, and sometimes dangerous, roads leading out of Alexandra.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar says that even though the mass action is technically unprotected, they had to step in.

"This is about law enforcement being present for the safety of the community at this point in time. We are satisfied with the way things are going now."

While some of the more elderly members of this march look visibly fatigued, they have echoed the movement's sentiments, vowing to keep protesting until they are heard by government.