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Almost 30,000 Vuwani pupils miss school amid shutdown

Residents have instituted another shutdown over municipal demarcation, saying the issue needs to be sorted out once and for all.

FILE: Residents of Vuwani, escorted by police, make their way into town and to the municipal offices on 6 February 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Limpopo Education Department says almost 30,000 pupils stayed away from schools on Tuesday in the Vuwani area, due to protests by the community.

Residents have instituted another shutdown over municipal demarcation, saying the issue needs to be sorted out once and for all.

They have vowed not to return to work until the matter is addressed.

Last year, about 30 schools were either torched or vandalised during protests.

The Basic Education Department's Elijah Mhlanga said: “We have 76 schools that are affected, with 27,697 learners not being able to go to schools a result of the shutdown.”

Tensions have resurfaced following a recent decision by the Demarcation Board to reject the community's appeal to revert the area back to its previous municipality.

Community spokesperson Nsovo Sambo said: "The shutdown continues up until the concerns and grievances of the people of Vuwani are addressed as per their request."

At the same time, provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba says he’s deployed the maximum number of law enforcement officers to keep the peace in the hotspot of Vuwani.

The provincial police chief says residents need to act inside of the law.

“We are calling on the community there to keep calm and caution them that whoever will be found contravening the laws of this country will be dealt with mercilessly.”

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)

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