SA 'rent bill due'

Johannesburg - A South African province yesterday wrote off debts of 1.5 billion rand ( pounds 276m) owed by black and mixed-race tenants who refused to pay rents and other charges during 10 years of protest against the former apartheid national government.

But the South African Housing Minister, Joe Slovo, and the Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeninging provincial premier, Tokyo Sexwale, said tenants must start paying immediately. They also must pay arrears from last January when it became clear that the apartheid government would be replaced. ''We cannot afford the boycotts for one day longer,'' Mr Slovo said. Reuter