The mayor of the city of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, has defended his decision to halt the construction of more bicycle lanes, in order to restore the dignity of the poor.
Many South Africans were up-in-arms when they heard the announcement that Mashaba had “put the brakes” on the city’s bicycle lane project during his inaugural speech yesterday. He drove the message home by stating that the city would not be constructing a single lane for bicycles until every road in the city has been tarred.
You can read the full transcript of the speech, available on the City of Joburg’s website by clicking here.
Mashaba called into the John Robbie show on 702 Talk Radio this morning to explain the reasons behind the decision announced yesterday at his Inaugural Mayoral Speech.
“I live in Sandton and at the same time I have neighbours of mine that I need to take care of as a matter of urgency. People in Alexandra are living across the highway… people with no toilets… no water and dignity and I have to make a decision,” Mashaba.
“I see R70 million is budgeted to build bicycle lanes for people in Sandton and now, I look at people of Alexandra”
“Some of them have taken their cases to the Human Rights Commission. I cannot live in a city that deprives people of such basic services‚” Mashaba added.
“Now I have to get the budget … I am taking that R70m to give my neighbours‚ my people‚ the opportunity to have dignity.”
Mashaba said that while bicycle lanes are needed, he can’t allow the city to spend money on the infrastructure in a place which is already well-equipped with basic services while the poor continue to live in undesirable conditions.
“I want them [Alexandra residents] to feel like they’re also part of the city,” Mashaba concluded.
For more info, check out the 702 website.