Vuwani: Prayer meeting held to restore calm, unity

The municipality, declared a disaster area, saw violent protests leading to more than 20 schools damaged.

FILE: The Vhudzani secondary school is one the schools which have been touched by the Vuwani community. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Traditional leaders, members of the religious community and residents in Vuwani have vowed to protect schools in the area and put an end to violence.

Government's ministerial task team held a prayer meeting today to restore calm and unity.

The Limpopo municipality has been declared a disaster area following violent protests that saw more than 20 schools damaged.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Legadima Leso says the feedback from the prayer meeting has been positive.

"People who were there received the message and many of them were saying they are committed and resolute."

Today's gathering was addressed by Limpopo Premier Stanley Mathabatha as well as Cogta Minister Des Van Rooyen.

Earlier this month, locals in the Limpopo municipality staged violent protests against their integration into the new Malamulele Municipality.

The area is still being monitored while efforts begin to rebuild the damage.

NEW LEADS UNCOVERED

Earlier today, Limpopo police said they had made progress due to new leads in their Vuwani violence investigation, which they believed could lead to more arrests.

The police's Ronel Otto said 24 people were arrested; seven of whom were minors and had been released into the care of their parents.

"We still have teams working on the ground looking into the arson and destruction of property that took place. So, more arrests can definitely be expected."

WATCH: Vuwani community resolute in violent protest.

SCHOOLS REOPEN TOMORROW

Yesterday, government said it was positive that it's done enough work on the ground in Vuwani to restore peace and stability in the area ahead of the reopening of schools on Monday.

Government said it had been engaging with locals including traditional leaders for better part of the week to try and find solutions to the challenges facing the people of Vuwani and surrounding areas.

Leso said, "I can report that ministers have since been on the ground, even today, they have been on the ground engaging various stakeholders."

He said the community had responded positively to working to restore peace in the area.

"They are positive that the schools will reopen on Monday and learners can go back to school."

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga held an education dialogue with of the education sector in an effort to ensure that pupils in Vuwani are back in school on Monday.