Decision on services to Vuwani causes division

Hosi Magona (Charles Nxumalo), the Chairperson of traditional leaders in Vhembe.

LIMPOPO – While debating the decision in a meeting held at Giyani’s old parliament building last Wednesday, many speakers said the decision by the president, Jacob Zuma, was a direct act of tribalism.

The decision, they said, was going to cause a situation where Tshivenda speakers in Vuwani would receive their services in Vhembe while those who speak Xitsonga would remain with Lim345 which is run by their “native speakers”.

“This means we would have a situation where a grader from Vhembe would come in Vuwani and ‘jump some streets’ of those thought to belong to Lim345 to grade the streets for those who belong in Vhembe – a situation which is not practical and will further divide the community in the area,” commented former Gauteng Premier, Mbazima Shilowa who was also present at the event.

The meeting was aimed at seeking a way forward with regard to the decision.

While some leaders were diplomatic about the situation in Vuwani, others were scathing and demanded that leaders should inform Zuma that they would be serviced in Mopani if those in Vuwani wanted to be serviced in Vhembe.

Giving a briefing of what happened during Zuma’s visit to Vuwani, Hosi Magona (Charles Nxumalo), the Chairperson of traditional leaders in Vhembe, said the decision by Zuma in Vuwani had been taken behind closed doors long before it was formerly announced on his visit and did not have a blessing of the concerned stakeholders.

Traditional leaders of Tsonga speaking people listen to reports about the decision to have some wards in Vuwani receive their services in the Vhembe district.

“When I got to the stage to speak, I could see the atmosphere was not conducive and I could tell that any misplaced word could mean that we would not go out of that place alive as the decision had already been taken and there was no going back,” explained Magona saying their woes were exaggerated by the fact that they did not have a Tsonga king to represent them.

Meanwhile, Prof Muxe Nkondo said Matsonga-Machangani were being undermined even by the constitution of the country, and that, him and his team were looking for a way to force the government to amend a part of it.

“For some reasons, our constitution does not accommodate the history of the Matsonga-Machangani tribe, this is why all the applications for kingships failed,” explained Nkondo, whom along with other intellectuals, have been tasked by the leaders of Matsonga-Machangani to research issues of kingships.

“We will apply for a special amendment of the constitution which would see our history being recognised.

“According to the research that we have done, which include consultation with lawyers and judges, this is possible,” he said.

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Orlando Chauke

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