ANC pre­pared to re­solve Vuwani stale­mate - Man­tashe

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ANC sec­re­tary-gen­eral Gwede Man­tashe says the ANC has an ap­petite to re­solve the de­mar­ca­tion de­ba­cles of the trou­bled Vuwani com­mu­ni­ties in Lim­popo, just like it is do­ing in the Matatiele Mu­nic­i­pal­ity – in­cor­po­rat­ing the lat­ter back into KwaZulu-Na­tal from the East­ern Cape.

This week, the ANC an­nounced it had signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with the African In­de­pen­dent Con­gress for the in­cor­po­ra­tion of Matatiele back into KwaZulu-Na­tal.

The ANC has been ac­cused of be­ing more pre­pared to set­tle the Matatiele de­mar­ca­tion prob­lem be­cause the mat­ter is aligned to the fu­ture of the Ekurhu­leni mayor – and be­ing less ded­i­cated to find­ing so­lu­tions for Vuwani.

Man­tashe con­demned acts of vi­o­lence – in­clud­ing the torch­ing of more than 30 schools in Vuwani – after some com­mu­nity mem­bers, led by the pro-Makhado de­mar­ca­tion task team, dis­tanced them­selves from the new Mala­mulele mu­nic­i­pal­ity, known as Lim345, in the Vhembe dis­trict.

The task team want Vuwani ar­eas to be re­turned to Makhado and Thu­lamela mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Man­tashe said: “They want to meet us, but they burn schools and dam­age pub­lic prop­erty. Our doors have al­ways been open. All they must do is to come to Luthuli House and meet us. But it can­not be cor­rect when they re­sort to vi­o­lence. The peo­ple in Matatiele did not burn schools to ad­dress their is­sues. Peace­ful talks are not dif­fi­cult, there­fore they must come.”

He said this after the proMakhado task team re­fused to meet with the ANC provin­cial lead­er­ship in Lim­popo last Thurs­day. Pre­mier Stan Matha­batha led a del­e­ga­tion to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion with res­i­dents in the Vuwani com­mu­nity hall. It com­prised Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula and an in­ter­min­is­te­rial task team, led by CoCo­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance Min­is­ter Des van Rooyen. How­ever, res­i­dents snubbed the meet­ing.

“We are keen to meet them any­time and will pri­ori­tise them,” said Man­tashe.

“Noth­ing can­not be re­solved, but they must stop burn­ing schools and al­low chil­dren to go to school. They must re­frain from dam­ag­ing pub­lic prop­erty.”

Lo­cal Chief Mbangiseni Ma­sia, of Ma­sia vil­lage in one of the af­fected ar­eas, con­firmed that a meet­ing would take place on Mon­day at Luthuli House in Jo­han­nes­burg. Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma would meet with Venda monarch King Mphe­phu Ram­ab­u­lana and a del­e­ga­tion of lo­cal tra­di­tional lead­ers Arnold Mu­laudzi, deputy chair­per­son of the pro-Makhado task team, re­it­er­ated their call that res­i­dents wanted Matha­batha and the en­tire provin­cial Cabi­net to step down. “We have been lied to for too long. You can­not even cel­e­brate 23 years of democ­racy be­cause you are be­ing marginalised by your own black gov­ern­ment.” He ex­pressed his anger after last Thurs­day’s visit by Mbalula and Van Rooyen. “Their pres­ence did not make any dif­fer­ence to us. We do not want to meet them be­cause they are full of them­selves and empty prom­ises have been the or­der of the day. We signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing its task team, but still they didn’t keep their prom­ise to stop this process of Lim345,” Mu­laudzi said. “We no longer want to en­gage with any­body but Pres­i­dent Zuma be­cause we have noted that most of these politi­cians are pur­su­ing their own self­ish in­ter­ests.”

Van Rooyen said the de­ci­sion by the de­mar­ca­tion board was fi­nal.

Mu­laudzi in­sisted that be­fore last year’s lo­cal elec­tions, Matha­batha had promised that his ad­min­is­tra­tion would re­verse the de­mar­ca­tion de­ci­sion. The pre­mier has de­nied this al­le­ga­tion sev­eral times. Po­lice spokesper­son Lieu­tenant Colonel Moat­she Ngoepe con­firmed that a case of cul­pa­ble homi­cide had been opened after two peo­ple died when the car they were trav­el­ling in crashed into a steel pipe used by Vuwani pro­test­ers to bar­ri­cade a road.

Provin­cial gov­ern­ment spokesper­son Phuti Seloba said: “The Mu­nic­i­pal De­mar­ca­tion Board has been on record say­ing that the Vuwani de­mar­ca­tion is­sue is done and dusted.

“The provin­cial gov­ern­ment can­not be ex­pected to un­der­mine the board’s de­ci­sion, in­clud­ing the Lim­popo High Court and Con­sti­tu­tional High Court rul­ings.”

MEC for Ed­u­ca­tion Ish­mael Kget­jepe said the Lim­popo provin­cial gov­ern­ment would spend more than R450 mil­lion to re­pair the more than 30 schools that had been torched and van­dalised in Vuwani since the shut­down last year.

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