Government has called on the people of Vuwani – who have boycotted the elections - to exercise their right to vote for their voices to be heard.
The community on Tuesday went on a total shutdown as they continue to demand that their area be reincorporated under the Makhado Local Municipality by the Municipal Demarcation Board. Police are on standby to mitigate any violence which may erupt.
This is not the first time – Vuwani – has went on a shutdown during election time. Leading up to the 2016 Local Government Election - the area experienced an unprecedented violence in the area, resulting in almost 30 schools being burnt.
Although that issue was settled through government intervention – the community seems to be up in arms again.
On Wednesday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Minister Zweli Mkhize said government remains committed to the agreement reached in January this year.
“Following a number of engagements that government had with all the stakeholders, traditional leaders and the Pro-Makhado Task Team (PMTT), it is regrettable that there are those calling for people to boycott the elections.
“We advise communities in Vuwani to exercise their right to vote and we are happy with reports that many people are voting in Vuwani,” said Mkhize who met with various community representatives in January.
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.
“We urge all stakeholders to continue working together to ensure that a lasting solution is found to address the demarcation challenges in Vuwani and surrounding areas. The inter-ministerial committee (IMC) will continue interacting and engaging on issues raised by stakeholders in Vuwani,” said Mkhize.
He added that on demarcation issues, government will support the legal processes as set out by legislation while assuring that government remains committed to other agreements reached.
These include the provincial departments who are to assist to provide services like water and sanitation, vehicle licensing and that traditional leaders and the provision of stamps by the Vhembe Municipality - for proof of residence documents needed by the community.
“As government we are committed to ensuring that 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,” the Minister added. - SAnews.gov.za