Co-operative Governance Minister Richard Baloyi. File photo: Masi Losi

Sasolburg - The process of merging Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality has been stopped, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi said on Tuesday.

“I appointed a task team to deal with the process and this task team was appointed last year,” Baloyi said in an interview with a local radio station in Zamdela.

He said the demarcation board 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.

According to the proposal, the merger of the municipalities would become a reality in 2016.

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 out to the people. The leadership must tell the people that the process has been stopped.”

Earlier in the day, protesters tried to burn down the local police station, police said.

A group of youths set a spaza shop alight, but residents extinguished the fire. By noon most protesters had dispersed, while others stood in groups watching the streets.

The violence, which started on Sunday, was sparked by plans to merge Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls. - Sapa