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06 Jul 2004 16:35
Authorities were on Tuesday busy with negotiations as day two of unrest in the Diepsloot community north-west of Johannesburg played out.
Residents of Diepsloot took to the streets on Monday, protesting against an alleged move to relocate them from Diepsloot to Brits.
In the process they set alight and seriously damaged two municipal buildings.
Residents said that at 4am on Monday morning an announcement was made by loudhailer that the relocation will take place on July 14.
Gauteng housing department media liaison officer Mongezi Mnyani told the Mail & Guardian Online on Tuesday that the department is unaware of such announcements.
“It raises a lot of suspicion and questions. Why four in the morning?” he asked.
According to Mnyani, the issue of relocation has never been discussed.
He also said the local government does not have the power to relocate people to another province.
A statement issued by Gauteng provincial minister of housing Nomvula Mokonyane dismissed the rumours as “incorrect and misleading”.
Mokonyane said the rumours were started by people who do not want the community to progress.
According to Mnyani, the housing department is pleading with residents of Diepsloot to be patient as they will be moved into new houses soon.
Nineteen people have been arrested in connection with the burning of the municipal buildings in the area and face charges of arson and public violence.
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