Police minister condemns violent protests in Malamulele

Nkosinathi Nhleko has set up a joint operations centre in the area to monitor violent protests.

FILE. Nkosinathi Nhleko has set up a joint operations centre in the area to monitor violent protests. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko has condemned the violent protests in Malamulele in Limpopo and says an abnormal situation should not become normal.

Nhleko set up a joint operations centre in the area and will be stationed in Malamulele to monitor violent protests that have kept the area on lockdown for weeks.

On Friday, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced the small Limpopo town did not qualify for its own municipality, re-igniting tensions.

Tsonga-speaking residents claim the Thulamela Municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, to the detriment of their own community.

Since the area has been on lockdown, at least three schools have been set alight.

Police department spokesman Musa Zondi says police will move into the townships and remove barricades to stabilise the situation in the small town.

"It has been some time now that the pupils in Malamulele haven't been allowed to go to school and the minister is basically saying that that is an abnormal situation. We can't pretend as if it's something that is normal. That's why the police are now moving in."

The Limpopo local government has also condemned the attacks on schools in Malamulele, where tensions continue to rise.

Many shops and businesses have been forced to close their doors while school pupils have still not started the 2015 academic year.

Spokesman, Phuti Seloba, has called for calm, "We are calling upon the leadership of the town to show leadership, have courage and direct people to do the right thing. This cannot be tolerated. You can't destroy development if you want development."

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) in Limpopo has called on the people of Malamulele to respect the Municipal Demarcation Board's decision to deny residents their own community.

The ANC's Knocks Seabi says, "As the ANC we support that decision and we'll make sure that we take the community along and make sure that they understand the decision of the Municipal Demarcation Board."