Ekurhuleni lying about dolomite - Azapo

2011-03-05 17:44

Johannesburg - Ekurhuleni was lying about the reason why about 1 000 people were being moved from Bapsfontein, Azapo said on Saturday. 

The area is not unsafe for human settlement, as claimed, said Azanian People's Organisation spokesperson Walter Nkabineng.

"There is no unstable dolomite there... that is just a lie so that the [Ekurhuleni] municipality can move the people.

"It is not a disaster zone. They (the municipality) have not got a court order to move these people."

During the initial relocation Azapo claimed that government was using the presence of dolomite as an excuse to evict informal residents, so they could then develop the same land for commercial housing after the residents have left.

Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini denied this by saying the municipality "has everything we need to move these people legally. If Azapo or anyone wants to go to the court to get an interdict to stop us then they can try to do that".

"Azapo doesn't care about these people, they (Azapo) must leave us alone."

The forced relocation of families who initially refused to be moved from Bapsfontein in December began on Saturday.

The relocation process had started in December 2010 "but there were about 1 000 people who did not give their consent... so now we are forcefully removing them", Dlamini said.

Protecting lives

"Some of these people are saying they would rather die here than move but we cannot allow that... the government is protecting lives."

He said the relocation of about 3 080 people was initiated because "the area is highly unstable and not safe for human settlement".

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.

Nkabineng also argued that people cannot be moved "from shack to shack".

"They are moving us from a temporary settlement to another temporary settlement. The people want to go to a permanent settlement."

It would take about ten days for all the families to be moved, Dlamini said.

Hei said housing officials, health officials metro police and the SAPS were all on the scene in case violence erupted.

"Violence can be expected, but so far it is peaceful here."

Nkabineng said "the people will not fight the police".

- SAPA
Read more on:    johannesburg
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