Vuwani residents, govt fail to reach compromise to end shutdown

Fresh protests erupted in the area this week, where businesses and schools have been closed since Monday.

Police patrolling the area in Vuwani. Picture: Pelane Phakgadi/EWN.

VUWANI - Vuwani residents and government have failed to reach a compromise to end a shutdown in the Limpopo town.

Despite the regional municipal offices and traffic department being re-opened, residents say they don’t want the new municipality collecting revenue from those facilities.

Fresh protests erupted in the area this week, where businesses and schools have been closed since Monday.

Government spokesman Phuti Seloba says provincial departments, the Vhembe District Municipality and the LIM345 council will be providing services to the area and Vuwani residents need to accept this.

“There’s no dispute that the responsibility to service this area belongs to LIM345.”

But protest leader Nsovo Sambo says it’s a slap in the face to residents who’ve made it clear they don't want the LIM345 council to render any services in the town.

“That has been our understanding and position with the government, and that’s what the government promised.”

He says the shutdown will remain in place until government revokes powers from that new municipal entity.

WATCH: Vuwani maintains hope, resistance

‘WE HAVE NO INTEREST IN LIM345’

Vuwani residents say they don’t understand why the Limpopo government is trying to force them to accept services from a municipality they have no interest in.

In May, President Jacob Zuma announced that the area should be serviced by the Vhembe District Municipality as residents refuse to fall under the new LIM345 council.

But the Limpopo government says it’s not possible to follow through on the president’s announcement.

Last year, residents embarked on a month-long protest which left 30 schools burnt or vandalised.

Chief among their demands was to be reverted to Makhado, their old municipality.

President Zuma intervened this year and pronounced that the area will be serviced by the Vhembe District Municipality, a decision residents approved.

However, Limpopo government says that’s not possible.

Seloba says: “We never wanted to embarrass the president, we never wanted to embark on a malicious compliance.”

No matric preliminary examination has been written in this area this week.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)