The inquiry into the soci-economic conditions in Alexandra has reconvened in Johannesburg. On Monday, the inquiry heard testimony from the Gauteng Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The Human Rights Commission and the Public Protector set up the inquiry earlier in 2019 following violent protests in Alexandra township over service delivery backlogs and the mushrooming of shacks.

Two Chapter 9 institutions have been probing what’s hampering service delivery in Alexandra.

Thandeka Mbassa from Gauteng COGTA, says they need to revitalise the social compact government.

“We really have to go back to the basics. It’s not only COGTA, but all departments and go back to the basics of right from the beginning, right from the start of development; what model should we utilise to get the communities to be the partner? We need to revitalise the social compact that government used to have with communities. What is happening currently; each department has its own budget and they are chasing their own IPPs and there is little time to deal with soft issues.”

Ward committee decisions also came under scrutiny. Mbassa claims they don’t serve communities and that some business forums held communities to ransom.

“Ward communities do sit and are functional, but in most cases though. What is on the agenda and the kind of decisions taken may not necessarily be able to assist communities to resolve service delivery issues. Lately there has been a problem of business forums that are quiet problematic, that have the power to hold development at ransom for personal interests.”

The national COGTA Minister Dr Nkosazana Dalmini-Zuma and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema are also expected to appear at the inquiry this week.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba visited Alexandra where violent protests have again flared up. He was there to quell tensions following the demolition of 80 illegal shacks in the area on Friday.