Vuwani resumes bid to return to Makhado municipality

Vuwani residents attempt to get the reversal of the decision to incorporate them into the Collins Chabane local municipality. A task team has set April deadline to do so./ ANTONIO MUCHAVE
Vuwani residents attempt to get the reversal of the decision to incorporate them into the Collins Chabane local municipality. A task team has set April deadline to do so./ ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Residents of Vuwani in Limpopo will again attempt to get the reversal of the decision to incorporate them into the Collins Chabane local municipality.

The pro-Makhado task team has resolved to launch a fresh application with the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) to reverse its decision to incorporate them into the Collins Chabane local municipality.

A summit was held at the weekend and was attended by 151 people from the seven affected villages where a decision was taken to approach the board again.

Task team spokesperson Arnold Mulaudzi said various stakeholders, including traditional leaders and faith-based organisations attended the gathering and they renewed their demand.

"We'll write to the MDB and department of cooperative governance by the end of this week to demand that they reverse their decision. We are going to follow all the process and by end of April 2020 we will know our position," he said.

Mulaudzi said that failure to commit by end of April would force them to seek a new mandate from the residents.

"We want to see ourselves participating in the next local government elections. When we register [for the elections], we should do so as residents of Makhado local municipality not Collins Chabane," he said.

Since 2015, Vuwani was marred by violent protests over the MDB decision and its neighbouring villages have been characterised by serious unrest which led to the disruption of schooling and destruction of more than 30 schools due to the MDB establishing a new local municipality.

MDB spokesperson Barileng Dichabe said the application for municipal boundaries will be open post 2021 local government elections.

"When the time comes, the board will issue a notice and application processes will be outlined. At the moment, we are not aware of the intention by Vuwani residents to launch a fresh application," she said.

Mulaudzi said the government, through the department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs, had promised the Vuwani residents that their issue will be resolved before 2021 local government elections.

"We have an agreement with previous [corporate governance] Coghsta ministers that our issue will be addressed before the elections. MBD is just an administrative structure and cannot dictate to us what to do after we waited for five years."

Dichabe urged all affected communities to participate in the demarcation process be it in a ward or in the municipality.

Addressing the ANC provincial local government summit on Sunday, Limpopo party chairperson Stanley Mathabatha told delegates that they should draw lessons on the issue of Vuwani.

"Comrades, would remember that the situation was completely different in Vuwani. The resistance by sections of Vuwani to be incorporated into what is now Collins Chabane local municipality has led to regrettable incidences of destruction of private and public property," Mathabatha said.

"I believe there are specific lessons which, as a movement leading government, we should take from the Vuwani situation. When we went to the 2016 local government elections, we committed to take our municipalities back to the basics of doing things right."

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