Army called in after Limpopo protest turns violent

Army called in after Limpopo protest turns violent

SA National Defence Force soldiers had to be called in to assist the police when angry residents of the Masakona village in Vuwani, Limpopo, went on the rampage and set a school on fire during the voter registration weekend.


The arsonists set alight a staff room and nine classrooms, which include three mobile classrooms, at Rasiphuthuma Primary School on Saturday.

"The situation is calm at the moment. We have sent police and the army to monitor the situation in the entire Vuwani area. We are still waiting for more backup from other provinces," said provincial police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto on Monday.

Otto said no one has been arrested in connection with the arson.

The community members were protesting against the merging of Vuwani and Malamulele, which will share one municipality.

Earlier last year, the Municipal Demarcation Board announced that two towns, including Malamulele, which is currently under Thulamela local municipality, and Vuwani, which is currently under the Makhado local municipality, would be combined under a new local municipality.

Arnold Mulaudzi, a spokesperson for the Pro-Makhado civic organisation, said community members could not register until their objection to the proposed municipal set-up was concluded in court.

"We don't want to register to vote because we still have the matter in a court of law. As we have said before, we were never consulted about the so called 'new municipality', and we don't know anything about what they call 'Vuwani Municipality Task Team'. We want to remain in the Makhado municipality, or else we won't vote," said Mulaudzi.

Vuwani Task Team chairperson Tanyani Mudau said a few individuals were influencing community members to do wrong things in the name of protest.

"We are saddened by a group of individuals who want to disturb the majority of people who want to vote. This is violating their democratic right, as everybody has right to vote. With the help of the police, we believe that all our people will be able to go register to vote in... [the] Vuwani area in future," Mudau said.

(File photo)

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