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Rustervaal shack dwellers living in fear after clashes

A shack was burnt down on Thursday and they suspect that residents who want them removed from the area were responsible.

FILE: Rocks blockade a road during a protest. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Suspected illegal land occupants in Vereeniging say they are worried that residents of Rustervaal might attack them during the night.

A shack was burnt down on Thursday and they suspect that residents who want them removed from the area were responsible.

The Emfuleni Local Municipality obtained an eviction order, saying the piece of land that has been occupied was not safe for people to live on.

Two people died on Wednesday during violent clashes with the Red Ants.

Shack dwellers in Rustervaal who are wanted out by both the municipality and community members said they were worried about their safety.

One of their leaders, who did not want to be identified, said if they would leave if they had the option to go.

“No matter what, we are going to stay here. Only the government must come here and tell us [to leave]. Either they give us alternative land and we will be happy, but they can’t come and tell us we must be evicted without giving us a proper place to stay.”

The police said they would be patrolling the area until the situation was stabilised. Meanwhile, residents said they would not rest until the people they accused of stealing their land were removed.