Threat Limpopo protest will be escalated

2015-01-19 09:57
A service delivery protest  (File, Sapa)

A service delivery protest (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The task team heading the protests in Malamulele, Limpopo on Monday threatened to escalate their activities should authorities not meet the demand for their own municipality.

"Today [Monday] we are waiting for a response from the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) and the minister [of co-operative governance], said task team secretary general Isaac Nukeri.

"If that does not happen, we will write the letters to them again tomorrow about a march and then escalate the protest to ensure nothing goes into or out of Malamulele."

The area came to a standstill with children barred from attending school and businesses closed as residents took to the streets to demand their own municipality.

Protesters forced shops in the local mall to close two days before inland schools were due to open for the new academic year.

They blamed the Municipal Demarcation Board for not heeding their call for Malamulele and some surrounding areas, especially those that are Xitsonga-speaking, to have its own municipality.

Residents claimed they were not receiving service delivery from the Thulamela municipality, which they alleged had been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking sections. The municipality has repeatedly denied this.

The demand for another municipality has fuelled tensions between Tshivenda and Xitsonga speakers and triggered division among local traditional leaders as some regard it as a tribal matter.

Last year protesters took to the streets, burning shops and looting, causing millions of rands' worth of damage.

"Malamulele is tense, there are people monitoring the area to make sure there's no business taking place. There's no public transport operating," said Nukeri.

President Jacob Zuma said he would look into the matter when he visited the area last year ahead of the May general elections. No response had been received from Zuma's office, said Nukeri.

Police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said the area was quiet on Monday and that police continued to monitor and maintain law and order.

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests  |  service delivery
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