Zuma condemns torching of Vuwani schools

2016-05-05 16:45
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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Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma condemned, "in the strongest terms", the torching of 17 schools and other public facilities in Vuwani, Limpopo, over a municipal demarcation dispute.

"The entire nation is in shock over this occurrence," Zuma said during his reply on Thursday to the debate on the Presidency's budget.

"There is no grievance that can justify the destruction of property, especially schools, which are meant to help the next generation of Vuwani to defeat poverty, inequality and unemployment," Zuma said. 

If it had been just a few buildings it would have been one thing, Zuma told a half empty house after Cope, the United Democratic Movement, FF Plus, National Freedom Party, the EFF and the DA boycotted the sitting.

Lost court battle

"Seventeen schools! It's not a small thing!" said Zuma. "This is just shocking. Nobody should be allowed to jeopardise the future and the country."

He said there were rumours that somebody was taking advantage of the protesters, and law enforcement agencies had been asked to apprehend those responsible.

"It cannot continue that people engage in such criminal behaviour and we do nothing about it. Protests are permissible, but they should be undertaken peacefully."

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des Van Rooyen, State Security Minister David Mahlobo (who is also Acting Police Minister), and Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu were visiting the area to deal with the situation.

Rural development

Zuma said a process to declare Vuwani as part of a comprehensive rural development programme was at an advanced stage.

The recently established Vuwani task team had put together a developmental package for the area, comprising projects implemented by the Makhado local government municipality, the Vhembe district municipality and national government.

Protests have rocked the area all week, with some protesters going as far as setting trees alight.

Last Friday, residents lost a court battle to have the area remain under Makhado, instead of being merged with Malulela.

Read more on:    nfp  |  cope  |  da  |  ff plus  |  anc  |  udm  |  eff  |  jacob zuma  |  polokwane  |  protests  |  crime  |  parliament 2016  |  education

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