Conflict Between Residents in Clanwilliam
Commenting after a visit to the area yesterday, Minister Ramatlakane says, claims that this was an ethnic conflict, must be dismissed.
Minister Ramatlakane, Provincial Minister of Social Services Koleka Mqulwana, Provincial Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros and his deputy police commissioners, flew to Clanwilliam urgently, on learning of the outbreak of clashes between two black groups.
On arrival in the area and on briefings from the police and office of the local mayor, it was discovered that 70 shacks were burnt down and that five people were injured in running battles between residents of the Khayelitsha informal settlement in Clanwilliam.
Minister Ramatlakane said: "We have been told that the conflict was triggered by an argument between two men from different groupings, over money owed by the other."
It was also discovered that, the groupings were clashing over work opportunities on the farms in the area.
On high farm harvesting season, contract labour is recruited from the Khayelitsha informal settlement. Many other people on hearing of these opportunities, they arrive in buses and taxis from as far as Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape.
They work on farms are paid not more than R40 per person per day over a five to seven day working routine.
At meetings called to resolve the conflict, one grouping demanded that the other group be ordered to leave the area and return to the Eastern Cape. They claimed that this group was in the area "illegally".
Said Minister Ramatlakane:"We reject totally proposals that a certain group must be transported out of the area and returned to work they come from.
This province is a Home for all who want to live here. We all co-exist in this country and therefore South African citizens can go and live or work anywhere they want to, in this country."
Provincial Minister for Social Services Kolek Mqulwana said:" We cannot set precedence by allowing that another grouping so that the other can live in peace. What is a similar situation breaks out in Ceres. People who want to leave Clanwilliam must do so voluntarily."
Those who lost their shacks in the fire are currently being accommodated at local halls and church halls.
Officials from the Red Cross, the Disaster Management and Social Services are in the are providing social relief to the displaced groups.
Police in the area have in the meantime been beefed up and they are launching investigations on finding the perpetrators of criminal incidents, which sparked off the conflict.
Media Liaison Officer
Ministry of Community Safety
Cell: 082 780 4493