Bapsfontein families being relocated
Johannesburg - The relocation of families from Bapsfontein has begun running smoothly after earlier protests, the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality said on Tuesday.
"It's subsided now... the first three trucks have left... it's continuing as expected," municipal spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said.
Earlier, more than 500 community members protested against their relocation, some throwing stones at police.
"It's to be expected. It's one of those things. There was some kind of resistance."
The municipality has said that about 3 000 families need to relocate because of a dolomite problem in Bapsfontein.
"The Bapsfontein informal settlement area was declared a local state of disaster which is highly unstable and not safe for human settlement due to the dolomite instability in the area," Dlamini said on Monday.
The relocation process was expected to run until mid January and the families were first being moved to various temporary relocation points.
They would stay in temporary accommodation at N12 Highway Park, in the area between Putfontein Road on the western side, Benoni Road on the east, N12 on the south and Chief Albert Luthuli Extension Three on the northern side.
Dolomite is soluble and over time dissolves, posing a danger to people living on dolomitic land where cave-ins known as sink holes eventually occur.
Meanwhile, the Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) said the residents of Bapsfontein should "stay put".
"Government has used the presence of dolomite as an excuse to evict informal residents, then develop the same land for commercial housing after the residents have left," Azapo Gauteng chairperson Samore Herbstein said.
He also said consent forms signed by residents promised them electricity if they moved.
"The levels of service at the proposed relocation points are worse than the current conditions faced by the community."
Dlamini said the consent form had nothing to do with promising electricity but was simply about asking the people in Bapsfontein to agree to move.
"We don't provide electricity at informal settlements anyway."
It was "absolute nonsense" that government wanted the land for commercial housing.
"We are saving lives," Dlamini said.