The Pro-Makhado Task Team's Arnod Mulaudzi calms the angry residents during the handover of the memorandum.
Services in Vuwani were brought to a standstill on Monday as renewed protest broke out in the area. Things returned to normality after the quick intervention of Cooperative Governance MEC Makoma Makhurupetje, who listened to the demands of the residents.
The residents made it clear last year when negotiations with the government started that no services should be provided by the new municipality, Lim345. Pro-Makhado Task Team spokesperson Nsovo Sambo said the government was negotiating in bad faith as they had started with implementations under the new municipality.
"We realised that things were going on behind our backs. Everything in this area was being changed to Lim345 Municipality. Services were being rendered by the same municipality we do not recognise. We were left with no option but to embark on a total shutdown to remind them that we remain resolute and want to be taken back to Makhado and Thulamela Municipality. This is what brought us back to the streets."
Earlier on Monday morning, thousands of residents, including school children who did not go to school, braved the rain and chilly weather to have their demands heard. As early as 07:00, residents started arriving at the meeting place, where they chanted anti-Malamulele slogans. Different units of the police were on high alert and were strategically placed around the town.
The march that was supposed to have started at 09:00 only started after some hours, as a result of the delayed arrival of MEC Makhurupetje. Residents marched from the Hasibudi cross next to Vyeboom to the nearby local municipal offices, where they handed over a memorandum detailing their concerns and demands to the MEC.
Makhurupetje was in the company of Makhado Mayor Shonisani Sinyosi, Thulamela Speaker Cllr Humbulani Mulovhedzi, acting Vhembe Mayor Rudzani Ludere and Vhembe Speaker Cllr Frieda Nkondo.
She diffused what could have been a volatile situation as she immediately shut down all operations by Lim345, which included the traffic station, municipal offices and the local community hall. Responding after receiving the memorandum, Makhurupetje said she would come back to the community of Vuwani after seven days to discuss the possible alternatives of service-delivery mechanisms that are available that could be used that the community would be satisfied with.
"We have agreed with the residents to shut down all services rendered by Lim345 immediately, until such time we meet and discuss service delivery issues," she said.
Pro-Makhado Task Team's Nsovo Sambo said they were happy the government had listened to them but reiterated his call for the demarcation board to speed up the process of reversing their inclusion into the new Malamulele Municipality.
Residents dispersed peacefully, with no incidents of violence reported.
Meanwhile, all other services, including schooling, have gone back to normal in Vuwani, with people going on with their everydayl lives.
Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said the police would remain in the vicinity until such time they were satisfied there was peace in the area.
Date:12 February 2017 - By: Elmon Tshikhudo
Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and has since been a familiar name among the newspaper's readers.