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City to meet with Protea South protesters

Residents of Protea South have been protesting against poor service delivery since Thursday.

Residents of Protea South in Soweto watch on as police continue to closely monitor their community following violent protests on 10 August, 2013. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Johannesburg has arranged to meet with residents of Protea South in Soweto next week, after violent protests have brought the area to a standstill.

Residents have been protesting against poor service delivery in the area since Thursday.

They claim their councillor Mapule Khumalo is corrupt and they want her fired.

Twenty-three people have already been arrested for inciting public violence and looting.

Matshidiso Mfikoe, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services addressed hundreds of community members this afternoon.

Mfikoe said the area is dolomitic and cannot be developed. However, she said the city has plans in place to relocate residents.

She added that the city plans to restructure the settlement by the end of September.

"They need to move gradually to areas where we are able to give them proper houses. What we need to do is alleviate the situation that they are living in. I think they know very well and understand that in the long term, they have to move out of this place."

Meanwhile, the residents have vowed to continue protesting until all their grievances are met.

Earlier on Saturday, hundreds of residents charged at the police, throwing rocks and other objects.

The protesters, who had earlier been dispersed by police using rubber bullets, regrouped and began throwing stones.

A small contingent of police officers also ran out of rubber bullets after firing several rounds at the undeterred residents.

The violence reignited when police tried to disperse the crowd which had gathered illegally at the entrance of the informal settlement.

Police had to retreat several times after being overpowered.

It's unclear if more police officers will be deployed to restore calm in the area.

Police have been on high alert throughout the action and have vowed to protect property and ensure safety.

Street poles, electricity points, traffic lights and road signs have been vandalised and a number of roads blocked.

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