Vuwani shutdown enters second week

Tensions have once again flared in the Limpopo town as residents demand to be reincorporated into their previous municipality.

FILE: Protesters in Vuwani sing and dance along the road. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The shutdown in the troubled town of Vuwani has entered a second week, with almost 30,000 pupils again missing out on learning.

Tensions have once again flared in the Limpopo town following a recent decision by the demarcation board, in which it rejected the community's appeal to revert to their previous municipality.

The latest protests turned violent last week and two people were killed when their vehicle hit a pipe that was being used to barricade a busy road.

Community leader Nsovo Sambo says the boycott will continue until their demands are met.

“The resolution taken by the community is that they will continue with the shutdown up until such matter is resolved to their satisfaction.”

Meanwhile, the Basic Education Department is appealing to Vuwani residents to allow some form of teaching and learning to take place, saying pupils will be suffer as a result of the shutdown residents have imposed in the area.

Spokesman Elijah Mhlanga says pupils have not attended classes since last Tuesday.

“[We ask that] some form of learning and teaching take place, even if it’s not for the full five days. If we can be allowed the space to do that, that would be appreciated.”

Last week, residents snubbed a meeting with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to discuss the resurgence of anti-demarcation protests in the area.

When Eyewitness News arrived at the Vuwani community hall on Thursday where the meeting between Mbalula, his Cooperative Governance counterpart Des van Rooyen and residents was scheduled to take place, the venue was locked.

It’s not clear why the community stayed away and whether the ministers' earlier calls for calm reached them after the recent shutdown.

The inter-ministerial task team led by Van Rooyen has said it will do everything in its power to make sure there is stability in the troubled town.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)