Tensions simmer in Hangberg after riot

By Time of article published Nov 25, 2008

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By Natasha Prince

Officials are set to meet with residents of Hangberg near Hout Bay to clarify the housing dilemma that plunged the community into violent clashes with police.

The violence on Monday was sparked after Metro Police, SAPS and Law Enforcement dismantled two makeshift structures.

Several people were injured as police fired rubber bullets and residents allegedly fired back using live ammunition and stones.

Police arrested two men, one for public violence and another for attempted murder, after a Metro Police officer was shot in the hand.

A community meeting with housing officials has been scheduled for tomorrow night to clear up any confusion about the housing issue.

Densil Faure of the informal settlements department, said the two newly erected illegal structures would have disrupted plans for a housing upgrade project underway in the area.

On Monday after the running pitched battle between police and residents, some argued about the housing situation and several unsubstantiated allegations were made against some community members, councillors and leaders.

Questions had arisen about a housing list for the new development while a list of people whose homes were allegedly targeted to be removed had surfaced.

Residents shouted and argued among themselves while black smoke clouded Karbonkel street.

Faure said Hangberg had been identified for a housing upgrade project instituted two years ago.

He said the area was chosen for its relatively low density, open spaces and footpaths that would allow the city to construct the necessary infrastructure to accommodate formalised water and sanitation structures.

Faure said a community list had been drawn up to control the number of residents setting up structures.

Tourism facilities and backpackers were among some of the other planned initiatives in the area.

"Tuesday morning's incident was part of our zero tolerance policy on the newly erected makeshift structures," he said.

Tensions ran high on Monday as residents blockaded the street near the entrance to the settlement, refusing vehicle access to Hangberg.

Residents burnt tyres and dirt in the streets.

However they later grabbed spades and cleaned up the debris.

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