MEC Humphrey Mmemezi intervenes in Freedom Park over attacks on business owners
24 Jan 2011
Shops owned by foreign business people in Freedom Park, south of Johannesburg, will remain closed until an investigation by the provincial government is concluded. The investigation by a task team which will take two weeks to complete will investigate amongst other the issues the legality of documents to operate businesses, the occupation of RDP houses and whether there was proper zoning from the municipality before the building of shops.
Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi today met with the local leadership, affected business owners and the community to ascertain the cause of problems. The intervention by the MEC came after the foreign business owners were threatened with violence by some community members over the weekend.
This follows the re-opening of some shops by foreign business owners’ after they reneged on an agreement that was reached between local shop owners and the foreign shop owners last year on 16 December that their shops should remain closed until an investigation of grievances by the community were concluded.
MEC Mmemezi agreed with all the stakeholders that shops should remain closed so that the provincial government could conclude its investigation. “To ensure the safety of everyone the shops remain closed. We need to find a solution on this matter because it has been going on since 2009. I am glad that all the stakeholders including the affected business owners have come to an agreement to close their shops whiles the investigation continues. This will ensure that we find a speedy resolution to this matter”, said Mmemezi.
He said the task team, which will comprise of departments of Community Safety, Economic Development, Local Government and Housing and the City of Johannesburg, will immediately commence with the investigation. “We would like to assure the community that we will investigate this matter thoroughly and come up with a conclusive decision. In the meantime the police will also maintain visibility at all times to make sure that there is safety for everyone in the community,” said Mmemezi.
Meanwhile, at least five (5) people were arrested over the weekend for instigating violence against foreign business owners. Tensions came to a head late last year after the local spaza owners accused foreign owners of putting them off business by selling their goods at lower prizes.
For more information contact:
Cell: 079 897 2240
Cell: 083 602 5652
Source: Gauteng Department of Local Government and Housing
Issued by: Gauteng Local Government and Housing
24 Jan 2011
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