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JMPD on high alert after Alex shutdown threats

The planned demonstration is being carried under the banner of the Total Shutdown Movement.

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

JOHANNESBURG – The Johannesburg Metro Police Department on Tuesday said it would monitor the situation in Alexandra throughout the night amid threats of another shutdown on Wednesday.

The planned demonstration is being carried under the banner of the Total Shutdown Movement two months after residents first demonstrated about illegal structures.

The community then demanded to speak to Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, but when they accused him of not showing up President Cyril Ramaphosa took the opportunity and promised housing in the area.

The organisation was behind two previous protests in the area, where the township was placed on lock down during service delivery unrest.

Alexandra residents said they planned to make their voices heard once again, accusing government of ignoring their previous calls. They are demanding authorities clamp down on dodgy electricity connections and the mushrooming of illegal structures.

The police’s Wayne Minnaar said they were on high alert: "We will be monitoring throughout the night. A large contingent of officers will be in the Alexandra area in the morning to monitor the situation as it happens.”

The May general elections were just weeks away when Alexandra residents staged their first shutdown in the township in April.

If it is anything to go by, businesses, residential streets, and public transport were likely to be brought to a halt again on Wednesday, but one of the Total Shutdown leaders, Sandile Mavundla, said this time they don’t want any political rhetoric but solutions.

“If we are neglected as we do, there’s only one thing we can do. We don’t want politicians that come and sit with us. We want politicians who will come and develop Alexandra,” he said.

The anger is also fuelled by the City of Johannesburg’s promises to rebuild 80 structures believed to be illegally built near the Jukskei River after they were demolished.

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