Malamulele residents fail to get municipality

Malamulele residents will not get their own municipality, despite weeks of protests, says Limpopo’s co-operative governance department.

“No, they are not getting it,” said MEC Makoma Makhurupetje’s spokesperson Motupa Selomo today, following a meeting with the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB).

MDB members held a closed meeting with the Malamulele task team and Makhurupetje today.

Protesters demanding their own municipality have brought Malamulele to a standstill, monitoring roads to ensure no business takes place, and forcing a shutdown of schools as well as shops in the local mall.

Residents have blamed the MDB for not heeding their call for Malamulele and some surrounding areas, especially the Xitsonga-speaking ones, to have a separate municipality.

They claim they are not receiving services from the Thulamela municipality, which they allege has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas.

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

Last year, protesters set fire to shops and looted, causing millions of rands in damage.

The MDB was not immediately available for comment.

There were no immediate reports of violence following the announcement.

“For the last couple of days its been quiet, but the shutdown remains. There are no services, and schools and businesses are still closed,” said Colonel Ronel Otto while the meeting continued.

“They [residents] are awaiting feedback from the MDB.”

She said feedback was initially expected tomorrow.

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