Vuwani residents expressed anger in violent protests. PHOTO: Joshua Sebola
ANC Limpopo provincial secretary Soviet Lekganyane has made it clear that the party will not support a special dispensation for Vuwani when the municipal demarcation window period opens before the 2021 local government elections.
Vuwani residents are demanding the government commit itself to returning the area to the jurisdiction of the Makhado municipality when that window period opens.
The area was incorporated into the newly-constituted Collins Chabane municipality after the 2016 municipal elections. The move led to violent protests including the burning of almost 30 schools and subsequent shutdowns of the area.
Several applications by Vuwani residents to reverse the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) were dismissed by the courts including the Constitutional Court.
Speaking to News24 at the Electoral Commission of South Africa's (IEC) regional operations centre in Polokwane, Lekganyane said stakeholders should understand it was not possible to create special dispensation under South African law.
He said Vuwani residents would have to follow the law and make submissions to the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).
“The Vuwani matter is a matter of law because there is nothing we can do. We are a country that upholds constitutionalism and the rule of law.
“The Constitutional Court has given a ruling that the decision of the [Municipal] Demarcation Board satisfied procedural fairness. We can’t go above the law,” Lekganyane said.
READ: Voting disrupted in volatile Vuwani as residents and police clash
Scores of Vuwani residents boycotted Wednesday's elections amid protests which had flared since Monday.
It had abated by Thursday after the arrested leader of the pro-Makhado Task Team Arnold Mulaudzi was released on R5 000 bail.
He was arrested for contravention of the Electoral Act and is expected to appear again in the Vuwani Magistrate's Court on June 3.
Lekganyane acknowledged that the Vuwani boycott of the elections could make a dent in the ANC's push to exceed 80% in the province. By Friday afternoon, the party was hovering at just over 77% of the area's votes.
“It [the boycott] affected us in the last local government elections. It has also affected us now,” Lekganyane said.
“But that area is our stronghold because in the last local government elections, even when there were difficulties, we still won all the 35 wards of the Collins Chabane municipality. The volatility of the situation now scared our voters,” he said.
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