Police minister calls for peace in Vuwani

POLOKWANE – Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, said he intends addressing police officers in Vuwani and as well the locals in an attempt to prevent the escalation of violence and unrest in the area.

This was said during an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) meeting held earlier today (Thursday) at Bolvia Lodge, before he travelled to Vuwani.

Violence and unrest had flared up again in the area since the announcement that the Municipal Demarcation Board will not reverse the decision with regards to the demarcation of the newly established Lim 345 Municipality.

Leader of the inter-ministerial team in the province, MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, Makoma Makhurupetje, said the position of the committee on the current situation is that learners must go back to school as more disruption of schooling cannot be allowed. “We cannot afford any disruptions in Vuwani and we appeal to parents to work with us to protect their children’s future, ” she said.

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The Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision that the demarcation of the newly formed Lim 345 Municipality cannot be reversed, this was communicated to the community in March.

Minister of Cooperative Governance Des van Rooyen said the outcome of the Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision must be accepted. He said government will leave no stone unturned to resolve issues and wanted to discuss the integrated development plan for the area with people on the ground and get their input. “Together with the security cluster we want to conclude the plan and finalise the Integrated Development Planning (IDP) process.” He said six out of 36 wards have serious problems with the new demarcation in the local municipality.

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Premier Stan Mathabatha said government will continue talking to structures and traditional leaders in the area until the voice of reason prevails. He said government has learned from previous experience. He said children cannot be allowed not to benefit from the hard fought for freedom, and that it was a decision of the Constitutional Court to go ahead with the demarcation.

Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula said consolidated efforts will succeed and warned perpetrators with selfish interests that they will be brought to book. He reiterated that the demarcation decision cannot be reversed and that law and order and peace must prevail. “We cannot allow South Africa to degenerate as Vuwani has. School children are used as tokens. We cannot allow perpetrators to mess with the school children’s future.”

Vuwani residents are prohibited to go to work, and children to go to school. One school was set alight, numerous vehicles were damaged by stone-throwing residents and two people burnt to death as a result of their car catching fire when it crashed into a pipe barricade set up during the night. Another passenger was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

The situation is described as ‘volatile’ by police, who was deployed at maximum capacity in the area.

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Nelie Erasmus

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