Moutse residents to vote for their choice

A SURVEY to determine "the will and view" of the residents of troubled Moutse district - on the border of Limpopo and Mpumalanga - is in full swing.

A SURVEY to determine "the will and view" of the residents of troubled Moutse district - on the border of Limpopo and Mpumalanga - is in full swing.

The people of Moutse were removed from Mpumalanga and unilaterally incorporated into Limpopo by the Municipal Demarcation Board five years ago. This led to the birth of the Moutse Demarcation Forum comprising of business, NGOs and political organisations among others, to demand their re-incorporation into Mpumalanga.

When their demands fell on deaf ears, the residents embarked on campaigns, including protest marches and stay-aways. The Moutse Demarcation Forum even took the government to the Constitutional Court.

Last week, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Sicelo Shiceka announced a five-day community consultative process, which took the form of a referendum that started on Monday. A total of 33 voting stations were opened in various parts of the Elias Motsoaledi District Municipality and surrounding villages.

Government pamphlets informing locals about this week's voting described the process as "testing of the will and view of the people" regarding the province they choose to belong to.

When Sowetan visited the district this week, the spirit among voters, in particular those in favour of Mpumalanga, were very high.

Mokowe Raseroka, a blind 79-year-old, said: "I am happy that we will soon go back to where we belong - Mpumalanga."

There were also those who fought for Moutse to remain in Limpopo. These include the executive of the ANC sub-regional office in Limpopo who allegedly told a gathering of councillors in Groblersdal on Sunday to mobilise people to vote in favour of Limpopo.

Chairperson of the ANC sub-region in Limpopo, Thulani Mawela, repeatedly declined to comment on the allegations and referred all questions to the regional spokesperson Lenin Kgapola. He too would not comment, saying he only knew about that meeting on Tuesday.

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