Malamulele - The new municipality that now includes Malamulele, Vuwani and Hlanganani has been named after the late minister of public services and administration, and will be known as the Collins Chabane Local Municipality.
Chabane, who was born and bred in Xikundu village outside Malamulele, died in a car accident in March last year, shocking many who were acquainted with the much loved public servant.
The new municipality has been birthed in strife, with a vocal and violent opposition to its inauguration from elements in the Vuwani region. The unrest has been characterised by arson and malicious damage to property and led to a massive stay away and heightened police presence during the recent local government elections.
ANC Vhembe regional spokesperson Joseph Chauke said the organisation has taken the decision to honour the late minister for his contribution to the struggle for freedom in this country and for his leadership.
"We hope that his legacy will remain forever," he said.
Ellah Chabani-Chauke, Collins Chabane's sister said "we feel so honoured that people have taken a decision to name the new municipality as the Collins Chabane municipality. They have seen fit because they respect his works. Chabane was not only a Malamulele politician, but the humble servant of the whole of South Africa."
Services to be prioritised
Ximoko Party leader, Aura Choki Baloyi welcomed the naming of the new municipality and also urged ANC councillors to stop factionalism and take service delivery to the people.
"We welcome the naming of this new municipality as Collins Chabane municipality as he was an icon of this country. ANC councillors must stop fighting and unite. We as councillors no longer represent our political parties but we represent people who have elected us to serve them," said Baloyi.
The Collins Chabane municipality consists of 72 councillors, with an annual budget of R411m. The ANC has 59 seats, the EFF 6, the DA 2 and the Ximoko Party and the ACDP have one each.
The new municipality also resolved that offices remain in the Malamulele area. Joyce Bila is the new mayor and Matome Lebea is the new speaker of council.
Bila said the council would have to make sure that "we prioritise all the services that people from Malamulele, Vuwani and Hlanganani have been crying for all these years".