Protesters stone vehicles as Vuwani shutdown continues

2017-04-18 17:06

Several vehicles were stoned in Vuwani as motorists tried moving through the village as residents continue their protests against demarcation.

Police spokesperson Moatshe Ngoepe said they had made adequate deployments against protesters engaged in any form of illegal activity.

“Last night, four cars were damaged by people throwing stones from the bushes near Masakona village and cases of malicious damage to property were opened. There have been no arrests,” Ngoepe said.

Reports of journalists also being targeted also surfaced.

Protesters set out to shut down various services in the area, including the closure of municipal offices and schools.

Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team spokesperson Nsovo Sambo said that the protests would be peaceful and that residents were merely staying away from work until their demands were met.

“Everything is closed down. Businesses, taxis, schools ... people aren’t going to work,” he told Jacaranda FM News.

“There is no plan; we are just staying away in anticipation for resolutions around our demand,” he added.

The protests in Vuwani are a result of a decision made by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to incorporate Vuwani into the new Malamulele municipality in the Vhembe district. Protesters expressed their dissatisfaction, repeatedly saying they want to remain under the Makhado municipality.

The MDB announced in July 2015 that Malamulele would get its own new municipality, to be known as Malamulele-Vuwani municipality.

Sambo said the shutdown would continue despite the police presence.

“The people of Vuwani have said they want to remain under Makhado municipality and the government agreed to that resolution,” Sambo said.

“The new municipality is operating against the will and wishes of the people. Vuwani is part of Makhado and will remain so,” he added.

ANC Limpopo provincial secretary Nocks Seabi said talks were still under way to resolve the issues but did not clearly indicate what measures were being taken by the task team to meet the demands of the Vuwani community.

“We’ve set up a task team consisting [of all] interested stakeholders. The task team has been meeting with the stakeholders for the past five or six days and we are happy with the progress made so far.

“We are talking to the pro-Makhado group but there are no negotiations. The purpose of us talking is that we are hopeful we’ll make headway,” he said.

Seabi said they would be meeting with chiefs in Vuwani to help ease the tensions and so that “effective learning takes place”.

The government has in the meantime urged people to contact Crime Line to report any criminal activity.

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March 18 2018