Zweli Mkhize Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Picture: GCIS/Twitter

Polokwane - Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Zweli Mkhize on Wednesday called upon the residents of Vuwani in Limpopo to go out in their numbers and vote, saying that the government was committed to the undertakings it made.

On Tuesday, Vuwani residents met and decided not to partake in the much-anticipated 8 May general election as they continue with their demand that their area be reincorporated under Makhado Local Municipality by the Municipal Demarcation Board.

In a statement Mkhize said that it was regrettable that there were those calling for people to boycott the elections in Vuwani following a number of engagements that government had with all the stakeholders, traditional leaders and the Pro-Makhado task team.

"We advise communities in Vuwani to exercise their right to vote and we are happy with reports that many people are voting in Vuwani. Government remains committed to the agreement reached in January this year," Mkhize said.

"Government committed to agreements such as that provincial departments will assist to provide services like water and sanitation, licensing and that traditional leaders and Vhembe Municipality will provide stamps for proof of residence documents needed by the community."

Vuwani was incorporated into the newly established Collins Chabane Local Municipality five years ago. That move sparked unprecedented violence in the area, resulting in almost 30 schools being burnt leading up to the 2016 local government election. 

Mkhize met with various community representatives at the meeting that was held at the Vuwani Fire Station on January 24. 

At that meeting, the stakeholders agreed that political processes such as registering to vote and the actual voting will be allowed to proceed without hindrances.

Mkhize urged all stakeholders to continue working together to ensure that a lasting solution is found to address the demarcation challenges in Vuwani and surrounding areas.

"On demarcation issues, government will support the legal processes as set out by legislation. In addition, Cogta is through the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) is implementing projects such as a road that will assist to improve lives of communities," Mkhize said.

"As government, we are committed to ensuring communities in Vuwani and surrounding areas are able to get an opportunity to have their issues addressed and commend the leadership of various structures in Vuwani and the communities who came out in their numbers to vote."

Mkhize said the inter-ministerial task team will continue interacting and engaging on issues raised by stakeholders in Vuwani.

Limpopo spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said that police were maintaining strong visibility in the area to ensure that anyone wishing to vote did so peacefully in all 32 voting stations in Vuwani.

South Africans are voting in the country's sixth general elections since the abolishment of apartheid 25 years ago.

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African News Agency (ANA)