Solly does U-turn on Mams ‘wall’

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SAKHILE NDLAZI

THE great “Tsh­wane Wall” pro­posed for Mahube Val­ley in Mamelodi as a so­lu­tion to on­go­ing clashes be­tween for­mal home own­ers and in­for­mal set­tle­ment res­i­dents was not an ac­tual phys­i­cal struc­ture, ex­ec­u­tive mayor Solly Msi­manga said yes­ter­day.

Msi­manga made an about-turn on the controversial wall he pro­posed last week, which has al­ready been likened by so­cial and po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors to the in­fa­mous Ber­lin Wall in Ger­many and Trump’s pro­posed Mex­i­can wall.

But he has now quashed any ideas of a brick-and-ce­ment struc­ture to sep­a­rate the war­ring com­mu­ni­ties. It was hy­po­thet­i­cal, he said, al­most a week af­ter say­ing a wall was the only so­lu­tion to the prob­lems in that area, and re­ceiv­ing a lot of crit­i­cism.

Msi­manga’s spokesper­son Samkelo Mgob­ozi said: “It was ef­fec­tively the mayor ac­knowl­edg­ing that there needs to be a last­ing so­lu­tion to the vi­o­lence, which is an­cil­lary to the wall. It was just an ex­am­ple to il­lus­trate that we need a last­ing so­lu­tion to the ten­sions. It is more of a buf­fer than a lit­eral wall… he was seek­ing to com­mu­ni­cate last­ing so­lu­tions.”

Msi­manga vis­ited Mahube Val­ley dur­ing a day of ten­sion last week, where res­i­dents pay­ing bonds on their houses and squat­ters from across the road had bat­tled it out all night over in­creased util­ity bills caused by il­le­gal con­nec­tions.

The for­mal res­i­dents ac­cused the squat­ters of en­croach­ing on their space, con­nect­ing them­selves to their elec­tric­ity and wa­ter grid, and leav­ing them with ex­or­bi­tant bills to pay.

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