Alexandra residents didn’t pull any punches when they told Democratic Alliance Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga to ‘clean up the irritants that make our lives a living hell’.
Msimanga, who was unveiled as a premier candidate only last week, hit the ground running and his first stop was at one of the hotbeds of SA politics, Alexandra. There he had an opportunity to speak with the residents to hear their views and wishes on what needs to be done to change life for the better in the iconic township.
He met with ordinary but diverse people, from street vendors, taxi drivers, pensioners, hair braiders to shop owners and other business people in an effort to collate their views for the party’s upcoming manifesto for the province in the coming 2019 election. Msimanga also utilised his football skills well when he came across some youngsters playing soccer and joined in the game, but after dribbling past a few of the boys he tiredly retired with his tongue hanging out.
Pauline Mkalipe of Phase II told Msimanga he must ‘bring back black values and self-respect’ and clamp down on public drinking, which she said was contributing to the high crime rate and incidents in the township. “The spirit of good neighbourliness has since died. Black people no longer have any values and self-respect and we need to re-ignite this culture in them.”
A pensioner who did not want to be named claimed he and his fellow pensioners were being ‘cheated’ of their money in the old age home where their close to R2 000 pension was being used by the home as payment for their upkeep and other expenses. “We’re only given R160 to use for our personal requirements,” he claimed.
Amos Chonco, a street shoe vendor, said he wanted assistance to take his trading business to another level. “At the moment it’s just a hand to mouth survival situation but I am eager to get assistance and raise my sales so I can also put something in the bank and build future savings for my family.”
Studio 88 manager Buhle Ndlovu said to Msimanga, “I would like you, sir, to clean up a number of irritating things such as crime in Alexandra. Our grandmothers are waylaid from their pensions and grants payments and as soon as they walk out of the pay point they are robbed.
“You should also deal with the drug scourge which is taking its toll on our youth. The filth in the township needs to be tackled by ensuring there is adequate service delivery.
Ndlovu lives in Soweto but runs his shop in Alex. He concluded, “We as shops as well often fall to numerous armed robberies and the situation has become unbearable. We need to effectively control crime and allow ordinary people, businessmen and women, to ply their trade without fear of being robbed or even killed during the robbery.”
During the walkabout, Msimanga stopped at a soft drink vendor, chatted and brought two energy drinks, which he said he ‘definitely need these now’, as he ended his meet-and-greet’.
Vendor Ricky Maisela, however, said he had ‘dreams to remember’. When asked how it felt to have the mayor buy from him, he said, “I feel greatly honoured to have had the Mayor of Tshwane buy from me. Many of these high profile people look down on us but Msimanga is my hero of the day for his support. It’s like a dream I will cherish.”