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Mbalula set to visit Vuwani to help stabilise area

Police remain on high alert, while the families of two men who were killed in a crash linked to the Vuwani protests have pleaded with community members to end the shutdown.

Two men were killed when a car they were travelling in hit a pipe which was being used to barricade the main road in Vuwani on Tuesday night. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – As the situation in Vuwani remains tense on Thursday morning, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to visit the protest-hit Limpopo town in an effort to bring about peace and stability.

Police remain on high alert, while the families of two men who were killed in a crash linked to the protests, have pleaded with community members to end the shutdown.

The vehicle the men were travelling in hit a pipe which was being used to barricade the main road when it burst into flames.

The family of Isiah Makamo say that the ongoing protest over demarcation is unnecessary.

His aunt Doreen Rivambo says: “It’s very bad because Isiah is the eldest brother in the family and as a family, we valued him very much.”

Police say no incidents were reported overnight.

The shutdown has put schooling and other essential services on hold.

Corporative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen is also expected in the area on Thursday. He will address the media in Polokwane.

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.

(Edited by Masechaba Sefularo)

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