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Inter-ministerial task team to reveal plans for Vuwani

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula will go on a tour to speak to protesters in an attempt to resolve their grievances.

FILE: Protesting Vuwani residents outside the municipal offices before being addressed by the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Makoma Makhurupetje on 6 February 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – An inter-ministerial committee leading talks in Vuwani is expected to reveal plans to deal with the ongoing violence in the town on Thursday morning.

This week violence flared again with residents placing the town on lockdown.

The Limpopo government says 27, 000 children are also not attending school.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula will go on a tour to speak to protesters in an attempt to resolve their grievances.

Limpopo government spokesperson Phuti Seloba says: “We are visiting the area to see what is happening and what type of programmes and interventions [to implement]. The hotspots are very small area and we believe that we can unlock in other communities.”

As the shutdown continues, pupils are pleading with protesters to allow them to go to school.

The area is quieter this morning, with pupils complaining that the protests will affect their future.

There’s a heavy police presence as the police minister is expected to visit the area.

MINISTER'S MESSAGE

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has sent a strong message to residents, telling them to either continue with violent demonstrations or save the education of their children.

Motshekga says her department has exhausted its resources in trying to help pupils who have been the hardest hit by the ongoing protests over demarcation.

Almost 30, 000 pupils have been away from school this week as tensions flared up.

Last year, about 30 schools were either torched or vandalised during protests over the same issue.

Angie Motshekga says it's now up to Vuwani residents to decide on the future of their children.

“If they continue to burn schools, let it be. Last year they really disrupted us – we didn’t get to other areas because we were all running to Vuwani. This time I am not going to Vuwani.”

She adds: "It's a serious moral dilemma. We need to go and save those kids and on the other hand, you have a huge responsibility. We can't keep on doing the same thing over and over again. So it's not only disappointing, it's saddening."

She says the department has already spent millions in catch programmes and temporary structures.

“We took money last year that belonged to other projects and took it to Vuwani; then there’s a repeat?”

The Education Minister says she's deeply saddened that innocent children are bearing the brunt of the ongoing demarcation dispute.

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