Malamulele under lockdown

2015-02-02 09:44

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The Limpopo town of Malamulele was under lockdown this morning after month-long protests brought the area to a standstill.

“The situation is tense. It is like a ghost town, everything is closed,” police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said.

She said only employees of the South African Police Service and the healthcare sector were working. All other businesses and institutions – including schools – had been shut down.

Otto said she expected this to continue until Friday.

A meeting was expected to take place at the weekend to discuss the matter, she said.

The area has been brought to a standstill in recent weeks following a demand by residents that they be granted their own municipality. Protests first started in the town before general elections in May last year.

On Friday, the Municipal Demarcation Board’s announcement that Malamulele does not qualify for its own municipality led to roads being blocked and tyres set alight in protest.

Residents have alleged that the Thulamela municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, rather than their own, which is dominated by Xitsonga speakers.

Otto said this morning that no violence or protests had been reported since the announcement.

“Since Friday, when the announcement was made, no incidents have been reported. It is quiet in the area. We still have a police presence in the area.”

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