Durban – Both business and the African National Congress on Friday expressed hope that 200 businesses in iSithebe in Kwazulu-Natal could reopen next week following a week of violent protests.
ANC spokesman Mhlaba Memela said party leaders had met with community leaders in a bid to bring peace to the area.
Memela said that senior members of the party’s provincial executive committee had visited iSithebe on Friday.
He said community members were aggrieved over the issue of demarcation for new ward boundaries, the nomination of a formeMandeni mayor and the poor performance at a clinic.
He said the leadership explained to the community members that the ANC could not intervene in the country’s court system to demand the release of some 120 people arrested earlier this week for public violence.
“The ANC cannot interfere with issues related to the law.”
Memela added that the ANC had asked the councillor to step down.
“The community has not been happy about him, his performance as a mayor and as a councillor,” said Memela.
Seven Fox from Business Against Crime in Mandeni said that there had been no incidents reported for the past 36 hours.
“We’re very hopeful. I don’t know that they are content [with the explanations offered by ANC leaders], but they are accepting.”
He said it was too soon to assess the level of damage and the cost in lost production, but added that he knew that one factory had lost R15 million.
Memela said that it had been explained to the communities that if the violence continued, businesses would shut down.
“As far as we know it has ended. We are not expecting any further issues of violence,” he said.
Police spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said that the area appeared to be calm.
There is, however, still a heavy police presence in the area.
The industrial estate was established during the apartheid era and many of the workers for the factories live in areas right next to the estate.
iSithebe is located near Mandeni, which is about 90 kilometres south of Richards Bay.