File photo: Brenton Geach

Johannesburg - Public order police patrolled Malamulele on Monday as residents continued their demand for the area be separated from the Thulamela local municipality in Limpopo.

“Public order policing have been deployed to the area to monitor the protest, but so far no violence has been reported,” Colonel Ronel Otto said.

Protesters forced shops in the local mall to close as they took to the streets two days before inland province schools were due to open for the new academic year.

They blame the Municipal Demarcation Board for not heeding their call for Malamulele and some surrounding areas, especially those that are Xitsonga-speaking, to have its own municipality.

Residents claim they are not receiving service delivery from the Thulamela municipality, which they allege has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking sections. The municipality has repeatedly denied this.

The demand for another municipality has fuelled tensions between Tshivenda and Xitsonga speakers and triggered division among local traditional leaders as some regard it as a tribal issue.

Last year protesters took to the streets, burning shops and looting, causing millions of rands' worth of damage.

Sapa