News / South Africa

Steven Tau
2 minute read
25 Jul 2017
5:25 am

Vuwani in renewed standoff with government

Steven Tau

Community demands more than a simple reaction to their memorandum.

Vuwani protests from August 2016. Photo: Supplied

Government has been given seven days to implement an agreement relating to the Vuwani demarcation issue, and not to simply respond to a memorandum which was handed over by residents of the village situated near Thohoyandou, in Limpopo, yesterday.

In May this year, President Jacob Zuma failed to address residents at a planned community meeting, something which angered locals to a point where they booed Cabinet ministers such as Des van Rooyen and Fikile Mbalula, who were forced to leave the area.

Security concerns were cited as reasons for Zuma’s non-address. Residents were expecting a report back from the President, following his meeting with different stakeholders over the demarcation issue.

Residents of Vuwani have for years now been demanding that the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB), to merge their area with Malamulele and other surrounding villages, be reversed.

The decision was challenged in court, but was unsuccessful. Yesterday, residents held a march to the Vhembe district municipality where they handed over a memorandum of demand.

Speaking to The Citizen, spokesperson for the Pro-Makhado task team Nsovo Sambo said since the meeting the president had with different stakeholders, nothing had been implemented.

He said chief among the resolutions was that Vuwani be rendered services from any other municipality except for Lim 345 (new municipality).

The presidency was quoted as saying the Vhembe district municipality would provide services to the people of Vuwani while a solution on the demarcation issue is being sorted, but – according to Sambo – that has never happened.

“Every time we approach Vhembe district, we get excuses, but nothing happens. Residents are now feeling undermined by a government that does not seem to want to act,” he said.

Sambo said they are now giving both the national and Limpopo provincial governments seven days to implement and not to just respond.

Asked what will happen should nothing be implemented by this deadline, Sambo replied: “There are different ways to respond and it is not only through a total shutdown of services protest action.”

Between last year and early this year, nearly 30 schools were either torched or damaged during the total shotdown of service protest action. –