I have noted protests taking place in Alexandra as they relate to housing challenges and illegal occupation of land within the community.
I deeply sympathise with the challenges experienced by the residents of Alex.
For decades, the people of Alex have continually been let down by previous administrations in the provision of housing and addressing migration into the communtiy.
Indeed, during the local government elections of 2016, the ANC, province and the previous administration committed to providing investment into the area so as to address housing challenges and development in the area.
This was noted in an agreement of intent seen attached.
This commitment was made without any financing and consolidated strategic plan for meeting the commitment – it was nothing more than an empty ANC promise.
This is not only true for the people of Alex but the City as a whole.
Since coming into office, the multi-party government has consistently sought to engage province and national government in securing funding that can be used to not only adequately meet our housing demands within the City – with a need of over 300 000 units – to addressing the massive migration challenges faced by the City.
On both counts, the City’s attempts at engagement have fallen on deaf ears.
As the new administration, we are working to progressively meet the housing demand and development needs of our communities within our available resources and bring Diphetogo to communities.
The City has already begun its inner City revitalisation project aimed at creating affordable housing opportunities for those in our poorest communities.
In addition we have made room for development within the City through budget allocations in our adjustment budget:
- R82 millionadditional spending for the electrification of informal settlements, bringing the budget to R200 million for 18/19;
- R20 million additional spending for the installation of new public lightingcity wide;
- R130 millionfor the electrification of Fleurhof and South Hills developments – crucial projects for addressing housing needs in the City;
- R50 millionadditional spending for the upgrading of Council-owned flats and old-age homes;
- R30 million additional spending for transitional housingin the Inner City to give effect to the City’s Inner City Revitalisation Plan;
- R50 million additional spending for the planned replacement of sewer lines to reduce to number of blockages;
- R135 million additionally allocated for the road reconstruction and rehabilitation; and
- R10 million for much need fire and rescue equipmentincluding urban search and rescue.
In relation to the community of Alex, the multi-party government’s service delivery record in Alexandra demonstrates how this previously forgotten community is receiving the full attention of the multi-party government:
- Electrification of 686 stands in informal settlements in Alexandra;
- The extension of operating hours in the library serving Alexandra;
- The opening of 2 new clinics in Alexandra (Rover Park and Thoko Nongoma) with a third to be opened in the coming weeks (4th Avenue);
- The extending of clinic operating hours at the River Park Clinic;
- The provision of substance abuse treatment facilities at the River Park Clinic;
- R60 million over 3 years to complete the new Banakekelen Hospice and Clinic in Alexandra;
- R20 million in 2018/19 which will begin the construction of the Alexandra Sports and Youth Development Safe Hub;
- R80 million being spent in the 2018/19 financial year by Joburg Water on replacing water and sewer pipes in Alexandra;
- The construction of the Joe Nhlanhla pedestrian bridge in the 2018/19 financial year;
- The completion of the Alexandra Automotive Hub in 2018/19 as a job creation initiative in Alexandra;
- The Alexandra Opportunity Centre will open in 2018/19 providing support to SMMEs in Alexandra;
- The completion of Jukskei Water Management Plan to protect people and property close to the Jukskei River in times of flooding;
- The installition of 100 new public lights in Alexandra; and
- R20 million to be spent in 2018/19 on improvement of the Helen Joseph Hostel in Alexandra.
Finally, I also note resident’s concern regarding lawlessness within the community.
Ultimately, policing remains the competency of provincial and national government. Within our limited jurisdiction, the City is working to keep communities safe through the acquisition of 1500 new JPMD officers who are set to complete training soon. This will allow the City to provide increase visible policing in communities, especially our informal settlements.
I have also noted the ANC’s concern regarding the alleged sale illegal occupied stands within the community. A matter for serious concern for the City as well.
However, it is ironic that this would be a concern for the ANC given that we have witnessed the ANC’s very own, former MMC of Housing, Dan Bovu, being implicated in this type of illegal activity. This case related to the alleged illegal sale of state land to vulnerable people within our society.
Accused individuals out on bail cannot directly or indirectly interfere with witnesses and yet the very same trust that was established by Bovu, that received the proceeds of the illegal sale of land, was allegedly used to pay the material witnesses in order that they would no longer be willing to testify.
This matter is one which the ANC needs to answer for.
As a City, we will continue to do all we can to ensure that change is brought to our communities.