TENSIONS RUNNING HIGH IN ZANDSPRUIT

Business Day, 25 October 2000

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Angry South Africans walked out of a meeting intended to ease tensions between them and their Zimbabwean neighbours at the Zandspruit informal settlement, west of Johannesburg, yesterday.

The meeting, attended by representatives of the SA Human Rights Commission, Zandspruit community, the Zimbabwean consulate and the police, had to be moved from the Cross Media Centre in Honeydew to the local police station after locals refused to co-operate with organisers.

Yesterday's meeting follows violence earlier this week which left about 76 shacks belonging to Zimbabweans burnt. Locals torched the shacks after accusing the Zimbabweans of bringing crime into the area.

The meeting continued at the Honeydew police station without the locals, who claimed that only five representatives from their side were allowed in the meeting while all the Zimbabweans attended the gathering.

Police said no incidents were reported yesterday, but concern was growing that the locals's defiance could start a new wave.

Locals have vowed to prevent the Zimbabweans from returning to Zandspruit. The Zimbabweans say they have nowhere else to go.