Vuwani among areas flagged for possible disruptions ahead of elections

Just last week, Vuwani residents threatened to shut down the area during the voter registration drive weekend.

A police nyala stands at the intersection to Vyeboom, Vuwani in Limpopo after a few days of unrest in the area. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - The protest plagued town of Vuwani in Limpopo has been flagged as one of the areas where disruptions could erupt again in the lead up to this year's general elections.

For years, Vuwani residents have demanded to be re-incorporated into the jurisdiction of the Makhado Local Municipality.

At the height of tensions over the demarcation issues, at least 30 schools were burned down or damaged in Vuwani.

Just last week, Vuwani residents threatened to shut down the area during the voter registration drive weekend.

But in the end, all voting stations were able to operate without disruptions.

But the Municipal Demarcation Board says Vuwani and other areas where they've been problems may prove challenging.

Chairperson Jane Thupana says: “Vuwani, for example, is one of the communities that’s still unhappy about the board’s decisions.”

The board says challenges in areas such as Matatiele where locals are demanding to be incorporated in different provinces, is a matter outside their jurisdiction and should be handled by the national and provincial governments.

The board has also cautioned the Independent Electoral Commission about areas that could prove problematic leading up to the polls.

Meanwhile, the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Thabo Makgoba says hotspots will be one of the focuses of an elections observer group he's heading up.

Makgoba will be chairing the Electoral Code of Conduct Observer Commission, a group largely comprised of religious leaders from various faiths and ordinary citizens.

The role of the group will be to observe polls in the Western Cape and step in as a mediator should violence or unrest arise.

“When we see misdemeanour, we will record it. If it requires action, we will report it to the IEC. We also hold the IEC accountable, not only political parties.”

He says they will hear from the IEC what some of the hotspots are where more manpower will be needed.

“Once the date has been announced, we’ll ask whether there are any hotspots and how they’ve been identified. We will collaborate with the IEC and police.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)