Business Day, 23 October 2000

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The SA Police Service, a community policing forum and the Rhema Bible Church have arranged temporary shelter for Zimbabwean residents of a Honeydew informal settlement whose shacks were burned down on Sunday after they were accused of crimes.

After a row between residents of Zandspruit informal settlement in Honeydew, northern Johannesburg, 20 people were arrested, 74 shacks burned down and 124 shacks looted.

Police spokeswoman TerryAnn Booyse said that accommodation was provided in Roodepoort and also at Mabunda shelter in Marshalltown, in central Johannesburg.

She said trouble in the settlement began in September after a woman was killed there, and it was rumoured that a Zimbabwean citizen had killed her.

SA citizens began fighting the Zimbabweans, telling them to return to their country.

Booyse said the police were called to stabilise the situation, but on Sunday fighting broke out and shacks were set alight.

Police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, and six people were injured. They were taken to a local hospital and were released after being treated.

Booyse said that police were patrolling the area, and would mediate when the situation calmed down.

"The arrested suspects will appear tomorrow in the Johannesburg magistrates court on charges of public violence," Booyse said.

Meanwhile, the home affairs department has said that the extension of section 41 permits for Zimbabwean farm workers in Northern Province would depend on the recommendations of a task team led by labour and other stakeholders, due by the end of this week.

Home affairs director-general Billy Masetlha said the departments of labour and agriculture and farmers were negotiating in Messina. Between 10000 and 15000 Zimbabwean farm labourers are said to be working illegally in Northern Province.