Four arrested in Vuwani in wake of violence over Zuma no show

Six cars were damaged in the violence including two SABC vans after President Jacob Zuma failed to address a community meeting at the weekend.

One the damaged SABC cars after tensions rose in Vuwani. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Four people have been arrested in Vuwani for public violence after President Jacob Zuma failed to address a community meeting at the weekend.

Six cars were damaged in the violence, including two South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) vans, forcing journalists to flee on Sunday.

Public toilets were also damaged.

The police’s Motlafela Mojapelo says: “There was a community meeting that was held at the local sports ground. After that, protesters then went on a rampage, damaging vehicles, smashing windows and so on, but the police quickly brought the situation under control and arrested four people.”

The Presidency claims Zuma didn’t address the meeting because those gathered didn’t represent the whole community and only a select few.

Residents are demanding to be incorporated into their previous municipality.


President Zuma has urged learners and educators in Vuwani to go back to school.

Zuma was expected to address the community at a public meeting on Sunday, however, he was prevented from doing so due to the disruptions.

The meeting degenerated into chaos on Sunday when residents stopped Cooperative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen’s address by booing him and chanting “Zuma”.

President Zuma didn’t speak at the event after reportedly being advised to leave over safety concerns.

President spokesperson Bongani Nqulunga says: “The meeting accepted the king’s proposal, and it was also agreed that relevant departments from the provincial and national government will have to support the district municipality in execution of this new mandate.

“President Zuma is scheduled to go back to the area to address the issue that has risen as a result of the establishment of the new municipality.”


The residents waited for hours for Zuma to arrive and address them on the demarcation crisis.

They are demanding that their area is reincorporated into the Makhado Municipality and not a new municipality in Malamulele.

Van Rooyen, along with Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and State Security Minister David Mahlobo, left the area driving at high speed, just moments after residents demanded to be addressed by President Zuma.

Sources say the president was advised to leave, citing safety concerns.

Community leader Nsovo Sambo says he does not understand why the president kept hundreds of residents waiting for him, only to leave without coming anywhere near the venue.

“We had the president at the stakeholders’ briefing but he didn’t show up here to address the masses, the people he said he's coming to address.”

Several cars were damaged, including three belonging to the SABC.

Police cleared the area and now keeping an eye on the situation.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)