Demarcation issue sparks tensions in Vuwani once again as election looms

2019-01-24 19:28
One of the schools burnt during protests in Vuwani (File, Chester Makana, News24)

One of the schools burnt during protests in Vuwani (File, Chester Makana, News24)

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Tensions are running high once again in Vuwani, Limpopo, as residents threaten to shut the area down over the long-standing issue of municipal demarcation.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Zweli Mkhize and his provincial counterpart, Jerry Ndou, had to rush to Vuwani on Thursday after residents threatened to disrupt voter registration at the weekend and the upcoming national and provincial elections later this year.

Mkhize and Ndou held a lengthy meeting with the Makhado Demarcation Task Team (MDTT) which is leading the protest.

Residents are demanding that their area be reincorporated into the jurisdiction of Makhado Local Municipality. The area was incorporated into the newly established Collins Chabane Local Municipality five years ago.

The move sparked unprecedented violence in which almost 30 schools were burnt and other public buildings were vandalised.

MDTT chairperson Arnold Mulaudzi on Thursday told News24 that no agreement had been reached with Mkhize and Ndou on the demarcation matter.

'Positive' feedback

"We need commitment from the government that it will be the one that will lead the process to reincorporate our area back into Makhado when the demarcation window period opens.

"The minister promised that he will go back to the inter-ministerial committee to report and he will report back to us. He did not give a time frame," Mulaudzi said.

READ: Vuwani threatens shutdown (again)

Ndou says the concerned chiefs and the MDTT have agreed that their concerns are linked to local governance, and have decided to allow the Independent Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) to continue with its voter registration programme during the weekend.

"The feedback was positive, and the minister has assured them that his department was dealing with their demarcation concern," Ndou added.

In 2016, residents chose not to vote during local government elections.

Department spokesperson Legadima Leso confirmed the meeting was held with stakeholders in the area and that there would be a follow-up meeting on the issues raised.

Moutse in Dennilton, Limpopo, was also marred by unrest this week with residents demanding that their area be placed back under Mpumalanga.

Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha addressed residents and follow-up meetings were agreed upon.

READ MORE: Vuwani’s plaster unsticks

Read more on:    polokwane  |  protests  |  elections

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