Two dead, Sasolburg merger put on ice

2013-01-23 00:00

SASOLBURG — Two protesters were killed in Sasolburg yesterday, one during an attack on the police station in the Zamdela township.

Police said they would not give details as the case would be handled by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

Earlier, a man was allegedly shot dead by a motorist who was attacked while driving.

The protests, which have seen shops looted and set alight and hundreds of demonstrators arrested, were against the proposed merger of Sasolburg with the Ngwethe Municipality, centred on Parys.

Yesterday, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi announced the merger had been halted.

“I appointed a task team [last year] to deal with the process …” Baloyi said in an interview with a local radio station in Zamdela.

He said the demarcation board had made the merger proposal.

“I took a decision, let’s stop this process. I gave the task team the powers. It will involve all of the provinces,” he said.

Baloyi said he met leaders of concerned residents for talks, and they agreed to stop the violence.

“We have appealed to the leadership that the message must be carried to the people. The leadership must tell the people that the process has been stopped.”

However, Lucky Malebo, leader of the Zamdela concerned residents’ group, said the “situation is more serious” and that Baloyi’s announcement would not stop the violence.

“The merger has been stopped because of the unrest, but is it permanently cancelled and withdrawn, or just temporarily halted? The people don’t know and they are not satisfied,” he told Beeld reporter Riata Nel.

Other residents agreed, saying the cause of their unhappiness was that Premier Ace Magashule had reportedly taken a unilateral decision to merge Sasolburg with his home town of Parys.

A man who gave his name as Piet said: “We don’t want to merge with Parys. We don’t want to hear about it.”

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