ANC branches organised for members to be bussed in‚ and provided them with T-shirts and food.
The marchers blamed Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba for problems ranging from “no jobs”‚ crime‚ cable theft and “poor service delivery from taxi operators” to water supply interruptions‚ the high cost of electricity and an end to free Wi-Fi at spots around the province.
They also wanted the mayor to hand out more title deeds for land they have lived on for years.
Mashaba has been giving title deeds to land owned by the City of Johannesburg since he became mayor.
But one woman complained: “We still live in shacks.”
The marchers carried posters‚ some of which read: “Mashaba must fall”‚ “24 hours without electricity is a crime‚” and “Speed up the delivery of title deeds”.
Soweto resident Joseph Zwane said ANC branch leaders had asked all members from the Johannesburg branches to attend the march.
He said the protest was because people were already being asked to pay for water and now prepaid electricity metres were being installed in townships‚ which meant residents would now have to pay for power.
An ANC truck urging people to vote ANC in next year’s national elections and playing music drove through the streets after the marchers.
The march ended outside the City of Johannesburg’s municipal staff offices in Braamfontein.
Most of the shopkeepers in the city centre shut closed their stores for the morning.
Soweto resident Constance Khumalo said: “We are not looting. They are scared and they closed their shops. This is a peaceful march.”
Mashaba is “sh**‚” said Thato Mokoena‚ a resident from the Vaal region. She blamed the mayor for the alleged difficulties Wits University students were having in getting the funds for their bursaries from the national department of education.
Mokeona could not explain why the mayor was responsible for so many ills‚ including those that fell under other government departments.
When asked why Mashaba was to blame for joblessness‚ crime and a housing shortage when ANC ran the City of Johannesburg‚ a march organiser said: “But this is politics.”
She said it didn’t matter who was in power. “We want politicians to deliver on their promises they make at elections.”
A lot of anger stemmed from Mashaba’s decision last year to end the R1-billion Jozi at Work programme‚ which offered part-time jobs to unskilled youth.
Velile Nkosi attended the march in his wheelchair and ANC members took turns to push him. He said he came to protest for better “service delivery”.
Mashaba’s office had not responded to questions at time of publication.