Peace deal reached in Imizamo Yethu
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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has welcomed a peace deal reached by two groups of community leaders in the Hout Bay settlement of Imizamo Yethu.
Residents have been protesting over the slow rate of rebuilding after the devastating fire in March which left thousands homeless.
The City of Cape Town has tried to prevent residents from rebuilding their informal structures, accommodating them in a nearby temporary camp, while it carries out super-blocking - the process by which adequate spacing is demarcated between homes and to provide for the provision of services like water, electricity and sanitation.
The protests turned violent, with a number of homes set alight and damage done to other property.
Arrests have been made for public violence and arson.
"Yesterday, 22 July 2017, two groups of community leaders in Imizamo Yethu met to negotiate a peace deal to restore calm in the area so that the City of Cape Town’s super-blocking project could proceed," Mayor Patricia de Lille said in a statement.
"The two groups include a small group of community leaders who were against the super-blocking and the majority of the leaders who are in support of the project and who have been working with the City to ensure that the project can progress.
"The two groups of leaders met along with City political leaders, City officials, and senior members of the South African Police Service at the Hout Bay Fire Station.
"The two community leader groups came to an agreement in which the one group was updated about the super-blocking project and they agreed to engage the community at large to put an end to the violence so that the project can continue.
"A way forward was agreed to where three meetings will take place with the broader community today, 23 July 2017 on three sites: the Dontse Yakhe site, the Disa site and the sports field in Imizamo Yethu.
"The violence which flared up again this past week caused a delay in the super-blocking project, with contractors being pulled off site as their lives and equipment were in danger. The houses of three community leaders who are working with the City were also burnt down during the violent protests this past week.
"The group of leaders who were previously opposed to the super-blocking process have agreed to engage with the City and a series of engagements has been planned to ensure that they are updated regularly on the project’s progress as we have been doing with the community leaders who have always been on board and working with the City.
"The community leaders further agreed that the City’s work on the super-blocking must continue tomorrow, 24 July 2017.
"The City welcomes the peace deal that was reached between the two groups of community leaders. We are hopeful that the peace will hold so that we can continue with the project.
"The City reiterates its commitment to working with all leaders and residents to ensure that we make progress possible together and provide the services the residents need through the super-blocking project," De Lille said.