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New protests in Vuwani

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Police in Vuwani are investigating a case of culpable homicide after two people burnt to death and another suffered serious injuries Tuesday evening when the vehicle they were travelling in crashed and went up in flames after hitting a pipe that was allegedly used by protesters to barricade the road.
Provincial Police Spokesperson, Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed the incident and said the process of identifying the deceased is ongoing. He further said six cars were reportedly damaged by people throwing stones at vehicles near Masakona village and cases of malicious damage to property were opened and no arrests have been made as yet.
Ngoepe advised motorists to drive with caution especially during the night because there might still be some barricades on some of the roads and because of the volatility of the situation. He said the possibility of stones being thrown at passing vehicles cannot be ruled out and he added that the police will continue to monitor the situation until normality returns.
Protesters in Vuwani are back on the street after suspending their action for the Easter weekend. Prior to the Easter break residents had made it clear that they would continue to protest the decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) in 2016 to incorporate the Vuwani area in a newly established municipality, Lim345 while they prefer to remain part of Makhado Local Municipality.
Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team spokesperson, Nsovo Sambo confirmed that protests started again on Tuesday and will continue until their concerns and grievances are resolved.
“Our government should learn to listen to the masses to avoid such protests. We condemn all the criminal elements and acts of violence which are manifesting themselves as they do not represent the views of the Vuwani residents. We appeal to the law enforcement agencies to maintain strong presence within the area and our members to refrain from these criminal elements,” Sambo said.
He further said the task team wished to remind the African National Congress (ANC) Limpopo that Vuwani residents will not be dictated by its puppet leadership which failed to provide decisive governance. Residents of Vuwani continue to raise their concerns which the ANC has never had the political will to resolve but rather serve narrow political interests.
In a statement issued on Monday, ANC Provincial Secretary, Nocks Seabi said a Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) task team had been established to specifically work on the Vuwani issue. He further said the team worked around the clock during the Easter period in order to save the future of the children who must be allowed to go to school.
“The decision by MDB allows Vuwani community an opportunity to make representation on the disputed boundaries in the next session of submissions before the next local government elections as per rules and regulations governing the demarcation of Municipal boundaries. The Vuwani matter has been accorded all available avenues as provided for by the constitution and the only remaining legal option is to wait for the next session of submissions preceding the next local government elections,” Seabi explained
Provincial Government Spokesperson Phuti Seloba condemned the continued disruption in the area and, in a statement was quoted to have said: “The shutdown will never be peaceful as long as roads are barricaded and stones are thrown at passing vehicles. There are still shameless and selfish people masquerading as community leaders but continuing to play ‘fafi’ with the future of communities by disrupting schools.”
Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Le­dwaba, quoted in a separate statement, reportedly said the Police have ensured maximum deployment in the Vuwani area to protect all the community members and properties during these disruptive actions.
Ledwaba advised all members of the community to put their children’s future first by allowing and supporting them to go to school without any hindrance.
He also warned residents who engage in any form of illegal activity that the Police would deal with such people mercilessly and without compromise.

Story: ENDY SENYATSI
>>endy@observer.co.za