“We are the legitimate representatives of the people, and we represent the people… Whoever says they represent the people and are not here, we don’t know who they are representing.”
These were the words of ANC Gauteng regional chairperson Geoffrey Makhubo while handing over a memorandum to the City of Johannesburg on Friday.
The streets of Braamfontein were green, yellow and red on Friday with hundreds marching for better quality service delivery in their wards.
Johannesburg finance MMC Funzela Ngobeni accepted the memorandum on behalf of DA Mayor Herman Mashaba.
“We are sending you to the mayor as the front of the people led by the African National Congress,” Makhubo told Ngobeni while handing over the memorandum.
The memorandum to Mashaba demanded, among other things, that the six free kilolitres of water per household cancelled by the city be restored to communities.
“It has affected all these people. The people living in informal settlements, the people living in poor areas,” Makhubo said.
Makhubo said no proper consultation was done with residents before the policy of six free kilolitres of water was cancelled, and that is why they are demanding that it be restored.
“Had you consulted, you would have known that it’s not correct,” he said.
The memorandum also demanded that people be absorbed into the Jozi@work co-production programme. Makhubo alleged that those who were part of the programme were not the “real people of Jozi”.
“You have absorbed people who were brought by your coalition partners because you wanted to keep them happy, and so we are saying you must employ the correct people who are the Jozi@work people,” Makhubo told Ngobeni.
Makhubo added the demand that access to the internet be made available to communities’ hotspots that had been closed.
“When you are poor, we provide free Wi-Fi to the people. Now this city, with its wisdom, has reduced and cancelled a number of hotspots. We are demanding on behalf of the people that you must switch on all hotspots. We demand access to the internet because our people study using Wi-Fi,” he said.
Makhubo also said that the dirt in the streets was becoming a health hazard and they were, therefore, demanding that the streets be cleaned.
“Can you improve? We know you are going to blame other people but the consequences are that people are getting sick… Can you clean our city, can you collect our waste?” Makhubo asked Ngobeni.
Two other memorandums were handed over, to the office of the premier and Eskom.
Gauteng ANC deputy chairperson Panyaza Lesufi signed the memorandum on behalf of Premier David Makhura, while representatives from Eskom signed on behalf of the entity.
The memorandum to Eskom demanded that the entity improve infrastructure in communities so that the supply of electricity could also improve and for the entity to restore electricity that had been cut off for residents.
Makhura had earlier made an appearance to inform the coordinators of the march that Lesufi would accept the memorandum on his behalf as he had to attend to a meeting, Makhubo said.
Among other demands to the premier were that investigations be instituted on allegations of corruption within municipalities of Gauteng and for land to be made available for people through a rapid land-release programme.
“We want the premier to investigate which money is lost and he must give us a report-back,” Makhubo said to Lesufi while reading out the memorandum.
Makhubo said they were also worried about gangsterism and instability in communities, with shut-downs such as seen in Westbury and Ennerdale.
“We don’t think that amaberethe (the tactical response team sent in to Westbury) is the only solution. Amaberethe is the solution to root out criminals, to root out crime, but we, however, need a political solution in those areas,” he said.
Eskom representatives, Ngobeni and Lesufi all signed the memorandums and promised to reply with solutions to the demands before October 31.