Members of SAPS parked in strategic positions during the night as residents of Vuwani threaten to boycott polls. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Members of SAPS parked in strategic positions during the night as residents of Vuwani threaten to boycott polls. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Polokwane - The situation remained calm but tense in Vuwani, Limpopo, on Tuesday night following a residents' meeting in which the pro-Makhado task team leaders declared an indefinite shutdown in the area.

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

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. 

Driving around on Tuesday evening, an eerie feeling hung over the village though residents went about their daily business. A large contingent of police vehicles, including nyalas, could be seen at strategic intersections. 

Unlike many other places, there was no plethora of political party posters hanging from street poles in Vuwani, but only one or two ANC and DA posters, indicating that even elections campaigning was difficult in the area. 

A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity at a petrol station near the Vuwani police station, said he had heard about the outcome of the meeting that there will be no voting in the area. 

Limpopo spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said that police would be maintaining visibility in the area to ensure that anyone wishing to vote did so safely.  

"The situation remains calm but we are monitoring everything. We have deployed a large number of police to maintain stability in the area. What I can say is that all the ballot papers have been escorted safely to voting stations," Mojapelo said.

In 2016, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) said only 1 600 people participated in the elections in Vuwani despite over 40 000 voters being registered.

African News Agency/ANA