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UPDATE: Vhavenda king, Vuwani chiefs & govt officials' meeting underway

More than 20 schools have been torched as protests over the demarcation of the area.

FILE: Over 20 schools were targeted in ongoing protests in the Vuwani area. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

VUWANI - A meeting between the Vhavhenda king, chiefs in the Vuwani region and an inter-ministerial committee is now underway in Dzanani in rural Limpopo, as consultations continue to end a week-long protest that's seen more than 20 schools badly damaged.

The ministers of state security, minister of police and minister cooperative governance are meeting with traditional leaders who initially called on the community to oppose the amalgamation of Vuwani into the Malamulele Municipality.

The traditional leaders are expected to restore calm to the community but in Vuwani some roads remain heavily blockaded while police are maintaining a strong presence.

The government has approached the traditional leaders in the hope that they will be able to calm down angry residents in Vuwani who have been protesting.

Among the traditional leaders in attendance are the same chiefs who called on the community to oppose the amalgamation.

After the meeting, the leaders are expected to set up a meeting with President Jacob Zuma.

The meeting is also expected to discuss allegations that tribalism is fuelling the violence.

Chairperson of Vatsonga-Machangani royal leaders Hosi Nwamitwa says, "Communities, whether it's under Venda or Tsonga speaking people, we are one and the same community because we live side by side."

WATCH: Vuwani community resolute in violent protests

15 ARRESTED

Limpopo police have confirmed the number of people arrested for the violence in Vuwani has risen to 15.

Government says a total of 19 schools have been torched and several others vandalised over the past week in the Limpopo district.

Schools remain shut this morning, while a government task team has been appointed to deal with the situation on the ground,

The police's Malesela Ledwaba says the 15 people in custody will be charged with public violence, arson and malicious damaged to property.

"There will appear in court as soon as possible, but for now I suppose it will be on Monday. We're currently talking to the schools which were burned."

ZUMA CONDEMNS THE VIOLENCE

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma said nobody should be allowed to jeopardise the future of a generation of children by destroying schools.

He told Parliament the entire nation was in shock over the burning down of schools in the Vuwani district of Limpopo.

Zuma was replying to Wednesday's rowdy debate on the Presidency's budget vote.

Zuma said law enforcement agencies had been ordered to bring those behind the destruction of schools and other facilities in Vuwani to book.

"There is no grievance that can justify the destruction of property, especially schools, which are meant to help the next generation defeat poverty, inequality and unemployment.

"It cannot continue that people engage in such criminal behaviour and we do nothing about it. Protests are permissible, but they should be undertaken peacefully."

Zuma says the motives fuelling the destruction need to be uncovered.

Additional reporting by Gaye Davis.

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