Police patrol streets of Sasolburg

Calm has now been restored to the Zamdela township and there is a heavy police presence in the area.

Protesters in Zamdela township in Sasolburg on 22 January 2013 had a stand off against the police. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

ZAMDELA - The ANC on Wednesday sent its condolences to the families of those killed in the Sasolburg protests.

The ruling party also vowed to work closely with community leaders to resolve the dispute.

Locals at the Zamdela township took to the streets on Sunday to protest against plans to merge the Sasolburg and Parys municplaities.

At least two people were killed and several others injured in the clashes.

On Tuesday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi announced that merger plans would be put on hold.

But the Municipal Demarcation Board on Wednesday rubbished the minister's statement and said only it can make that decision.

Locals say the Ngwathe Municipality, based in Parys, is riddled with corruption and nepotism.

However, the ANC's Keith Khoza denied the corruption claims.

He also said the entire process has been undermined by the three days of violence.

"The proposed amalgamation is going to assist, as part of the process of integrating unsustainable municipalities, with those that have a better base for success."

Calm has now been restored to the Zamdela township and there is a heavy police presence in the area on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Free State police confirmed that 256 people have been arrested for looting.

Earlier on Wednesday, police launched an operation to recover goods stolen by looters.

Most shops in the area remain closed.

Parents have also kept their children at home because they fear for their safety.