Limpopo border war starting to turn ugly

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

Limpopo's border dispute with the government is hotting up.

Residents of Moutse, near Groblersdal, are expected to take to the streets today to vent their fury at the government's decision to incorporate their area into Limpopo. They want to remain in Mpumalanga.

Their action comes amid reports that education and health officials are not reporting for duty because the situation in the area is tense and they fear for their safety.

Health services have been disrupted, and ambulances and other emergency vehicles have been unable to reach troubled areas, such as Moutse East, despite police guards.

A spokesman for the Health and Social Development Department, Phuthi Seloba, confirmed that many of the department's staff were relying on the protection of the police to enable them to do their work.

Children in the area have not been able to go to school for two weeks.

Sekhukhune spokesman Samson Makunyane said the district and local municipalities had allocated money to develop the Moutse area.

The Limpopo premier's emergency infrastructure grant has set aside R47million for development and the delivery of services in Moutse.

Of the R47million, R32million has gone to Moutse and R15million to Moutse West.

Makunyane said the district municipality had embarked on the Moutse bulk reticulation and cost-recovery projects, and on the upgrading of the Dennilton bulk sewer.

But the projects had been delayed because of difficulties in transferring ownership of land and adherence to the requirements of an environmental-impact assessment, said Makunyane.

Education Department spokesman Ndo Mangala confirmed that schooling had stopped in the area because of the unrest.

He said he did not know when it would be safe for classes to resume.