City of Joburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, has defended his decision to halt the construction of more bicycle lanes in Sandton, saying restoring dignity to poor residents such as those in the township of Alexandra, is more important.

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, who, some of them have taken their cases to the Human Rights Commission, that ‘I cannot live in a city that deprives me of having basic services’. And now I have to get a budget. You know what, I’m taking that R70 million to give my neighbours an opportunity to have dignity [sic],” he went on.

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.

[Source – 702 Talk Radio]