New municipality like a 'rapist', says Vuwani chief

2017-01-06 17:00
School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

School that was set alight during protests in Vuwani, Limpopo. (News24 Correspondent)

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Polokwane - Leaders from Vuwani and Seloba have likened their forced relationship with the municipality to that between "a rapist and a rape victim".

The leaders briefed media after a meeting on Wednesday which ordered a swift move to end the unrest in Vuwani.

In May 2016, violence erupted in the far flung rural village after the demarcation board's decision to incorporate Vuwani into a new municipality, Lim345.

Fifty schools were either burnt down or vandalised in protest, forcing Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to declare Vuwani a disaster area.

Traditional leader Chief Mmbangiseni Masia said: "We acknowledge the presence of Lim345, but we don’t recognise their authority over us. Any relationship with the municipality will be synonymous to a relationship between a rapist and a rape victim.

"We have not co-operated with the municipality, and we don’t plan to do so in the future," he said.

READ: Four classrooms destroyed in Vuwani fire

Disgruntled villagers

Community spokesperson Nsovo Sambo said residents refused to recognise the demarcation board's decision to incorporate their area under the Malamulele-based municipality.

"Even though, politically, and by law we are in Lim345, we still don’t recognise that institution [the board]… we did not even participate in the election because we don’t recognise that institution," said Sambo.

Asked about a move to implement a shutdown on January 16, Sambo responded: "We are aware of the rumours, but when we call the shutdown, we don’t do it behind closed doors, we call a gathering."

Signs, however, are emerging that disgruntled villagers could take to the streets again.

For now, police have deployed public order units to the area. Police spokesperson Captain Maano Sadike said that the deployment was aimed at crime prevention.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the Vuwani task team and the government have agreed that the troubled area will not be serviced by the new municipality in the interim.

Limpopo government spokesperson Phuti Seloba said on Friday that the parties had agreed that residents would receive municipal services from Makhado and Thulamela.

He said the status quo would remain until the demarcation disputes and transitional service delivery arrangements were concluded.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests

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