Newly appointed Police Minister Fikile Mbalula agreed that the protests in Vuwani are costing the government a lot, although he could not disclose the actual figure spent on deployment of resources in the area in an effort to restore peace.
Mbulala was speaking during a media briefing by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vuwani at Bolivia Lodge earlier today (Thursday). He explained that the reason why he cannot disclose the figures is because he does not want to give selfish and illiterate protesters something to laugh about. “The money spent in Vuwani will only be revealed in Parliament when we give our financial report. The Police will continue monitoring the area to ensure that law, order and peace prevail. We will not allow our people to be frightened by a few illiterate and selfish people in Vuwani,” he said.
The media briefing was also attended by Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) David van Rooyen, Premier Stan Mathabatha, Department of Education MEC Ishmael Kgetjepe and Cooperative Governance‚ Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (Coghsta) MEC Makoma Makhurupetje.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Vuwani met yesterday (Wednesday) to assess the situation post the Municipal Demarcation Board’s rejection of their submission. Makhurupetje said the committee will continue to engage with traditional leaders on any matter affecting their communities.
“Provincial Government has been working with the stakeholders of Vuwani ever since they raised this problem. We have been working tirelessly with both the Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team and the senior traditional leaders in the area and we have been very consistent that the Provincial Government has no authority on the demarcation issues. We got involved because whatever troubles our people also affect us,” said Makhurupetje.
She added that the committee’s position on the current situation is that learners must return to class and that those being intimidated should report such cases to the Police. She appealed to parents to join forces with the Police and Provincial Government to protect children’s future.
“We have a municipality that is duly established and must be supported to deliver quality services. And this matter has been sufficiently addressed including at the level of constitutional court. We appeal to communities to play their part in ensuring that the newly established municipality, Lim345 is discharging its responsibilities and becomes sustainable in the process.”
Van Rooyen emphasised that they were able to identify most troublesome areas in Vuwani during last year’s protests. He further said they have been targeting these areas since the beginning of the protests this year to stabilise the protests. Mathabatha said the Provincial Government won’t allow threats from the people of Vuwani. He further said he knows that they cannot force anyone to listen to government officials but assured protesters that the government will build on their previous experience to end the protests.
Kgetjepe said his department will only be able to assist learners catch up on their school work when they are back at school.
Story and photos: ENDY SENYATSI