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Zuma’s no-show leads to clashes in #Vuwani

Politics
Vuwani - The nearly three-month shutdown in Vuwani, Limpopo, has been suspended, but residents showed their unhappiness by clashing with police.

President Jacob Zuma visited the area on  Sunday, and despite hundreds of people waiting close to five hours for him and being only a kilometre from the venue, he did not attend the meeting.

Zuma met with traditional leaders at the Vuwani fire station but did not make it to the dusty school field where residents were waiting for him.

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Vuwani residents remonstrate as they wait for President Jacob Zuma to address them on the controversial issue of demarcation. Picture: Matthews Baloyi/ANA Pictures

Zuma’s office claims the meeting at the Nandoni sports grounds was not representative of all views.

In Sunday’s meeting with community leaders it was resolved that residents would receive services from the Vhembe district municipality and not the new Lim345 municipality.

Zuma’s spokesperson Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said this didn’t mean Lim345 would be de-established.

Lim345, Makhado and Malamulele municipalities fall under the bigger Vhembe district municipality. The community is fighting to be serviced by Makhado. Lim345 is expected to be officially named after late minister Collins Chabane.

Residents have been fighting their inclusion into the new municipality, leading to nearly 20 000 pupils in the Vuwani-Hlanganani villages not being able to attend school. During similar protests last year, over 20 schools were vandalised and burnt.

Ngqulunga said the president would return to the area. “President Zuma will go back to the district to address all community members, those who are against the newly established municipality and those who are for. After assessing the situation, a conclusion was reached that the community meeting was not representative of the whole community It was mostly composed of those who oppose the new municipality.”

Zuma’s no-show left the community unhappy and led to clashes with the police. After waiting for more than four hours at the sports grounds, residents protested when the event - attended by Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha, State Security Minister David Mahlobo and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula - started without Zuma.

VhaVenda Khosi Toni Mphephu Ramabulana asked for calm from his people, but they booed and chanted “Zuma!” He said: “You sent us to speak to the political leadership. Please listen to what they say about where we belong.”

But this didn’t save Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen from being booed. When he tried to speak, chants of “Zuma” reverberated in the hall. No explanation was given to the community on where Zuma was.

When the leaders left, residents sang and pelted cars with stones, and demanded to see the president.

Community leader Nsovo Sambo said: “We are happy we are going to get our services from Vhembe and not Lim345. Of course it’s disappointing that the president did not address the residents, but we understand.”

On Sunday night, there was heavy police guard in Vuwani, with Nyalas patrolling the area.

The Star

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