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Limpopo cops on high alert amid voters' registration boycott threat

2016-03-05 10:39
(News24 Correspondent)

Makhado - There was a heavy police presence in Vuwani, in Limpopo, on Saturday morning as voters’ registration kicked off ahead upcoming local government elections.

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At least 20 police vehicles criss-crossed the area in the shutdown township in the Makhado municipality.

Residents opposing to be part of the new municipality in Vhembe took to the streets from Thursday evening to stress their boycott of the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) programme.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa was scheduled to meet with protest leaders.

But protesters vowed not to bow down to Ramaphosa and the ANC government.

Protesters pushed huge stones, tree branches, a shipping container, tyres and cement pipes onto the road to bar traffic from entering the area.

The IEC said it would continue with its programme as planned. It was aware of threats but said safety rested with the police.

Talks to have IEC allowed in the area reached a deadlock on Friday.

Residents were angry about the decision to create a new municipality in the area, which will include Makhado (under which Vuwani falls) and Malamulele.

IEC provincial head Nkaro Mateta said they were aware of threats and were to meet with leaders in the area.

“They think we are legitimising the new municipality, and we are not,” said Mateta.

“We are trying to resolve misunderstanding; we hope that we will find a solution.”

Vuwani Task team leader Alex Ndou said they would not be participating in voter registration this weekend because residents were bitter.

A News24 Correspondent visited some of the voters’ registration centres and discovered that there were no activities or officials.

In 2014, residents of Malamulele staged a protest demanding their own municipality and accusing local Thulamela municipality of sidelining Tsonga speaking residents on allocation of service delivery.

In November 2015, their plight were heard and a new municipality was granted.

Read more on: police  |  iec  |  polokwane  |  protests  |  local elections 2016

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