Vuwani peace deal scup­pered over bud­get

CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­

equip­ment and ther­apy. We are speak­ing about the poor­est of the poor and, nat­u­rally, these moth­ers have to give up work to care for their chil­dren.”

Lam­bast­ing the state for deny­ing any li­a­bil­ity, he said: “Every time, the court de­cides that they [the state] are in­deed li­able and have to pay.”

Once this hap­pens, a set­tle­ment agree­ment is reached and a trust is es­tab­lished for the chil­dren.

The depart­ment did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment on the pay­ments. Spokesper­son Prince Ham­nca said the sit­u­a­tion at Pholosong Hos­pi­tal, where Fikane and Sipho were born, had im­proved since an ob­ste­tri­cian was ap­pointed to head up the ma­ter­nity sec­tion.

What do you think should be done to com­pel the health depart­ment to live up to its re­spon­si­bil­ity?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word DAM­AGE and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50 A set­tle­ment deal bro­kered by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Venda monarch King Toni Mphe­phu Ram­ab­u­lana as part of a bid to bring sta­bil­ity to the trou­bled Vuwani area in Limpopo has hit a snag.

Of­fi­cials in the new mu­nic­i­pal en­tity, Lim345, based in Mala­mulele, have op­posed the set­tle­ment. They are re­fus­ing to al­low the Vhembe Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity to pro­vide ser­vices to Vuwani vil­lagers, as en­vis­aged by Zuma and the king.

Sev­eral sources told City Press that the new mu­nic­i­pal­ity had re­fused to sur­ren­der part of its bud­get to the Vhembe dis­trict to en­able of­fi­cials to ren­der ser­vices to Vuwani vil­lages, on the grounds that they wouldn’t be in con­trol of who re­ceived ten­ders.

The im­pli­ca­tion was that of­fi­cials in Lim345 feared they would lose power and con­trol of the bud­get.

This has put a stop to what Zuma had be­lieved would be a tem­po­rary so­lu­tion to the long-stand­ing de­mar­ca­tion problem in Vuwani. The sit­u­a­tion re­mains a sen­si­tive eth­i­cal dilemma for the ANC.

Sources, who asked not to be named for fear of vic­tim­i­sa­tion, said ev­ery­one agreed that Zuma’s pro­posed agree­ment had se­cured some sta­bil­ity in Vuwani af­ter the com­mu­nity agreed to re­ceive ser­vices from Vhembe Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity rather than Lim345.

But, in the few months since the deal was bro­kered, the pres­i­den­tial race be­tween Nkosazana DlaminiZuma and Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has gained mo­men­tum.

This has been a contributing fac­tor to the deal be­ing scup­pered as the re­gion ap­pears to back Ramaphosa, if re­galia and car stick­ers seen there are any­thing to go by.

“At the cen­tre of the saga is the bat­tle for con­trol of the mu­nic­i­pal cof­fers, Each group wants to be closer to the kitty,” said a source.

He added that the for­ma­tion of Lim345 was meant to ap­pease Mala­mulele res­i­dents. But it cre­ated an­other problem af­ter areas around Vuwani were taken from Makhado Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and in­te­grated into the new en­tity – with­out in­put from res­i­dents. Vuwani res­i­dents even re­jected a tarred road project worth more than R50 mil­lion be­cause it would be de­liv­ered un­der the aus­pices of Lim345.

Sources told City Press that trib­al­ism was adding fuel to the fire as res­i­dents in Vuwani, a mostly Tshiv­enda-speak­ing area, re­mained op­posed to be­ing ap­pro­pri­ated un­der the largely Xit­songa-speak­ing areas of Mala­mulele.

Sources said the new Mala­mulele mu­nic­i­pal­ity was formed as a re­sult of protest ac­tion by Mala­mulele com­mu­ni­ties, who no longer wanted to be part of Thu­lamela Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity as it was dom­i­nated by Tshiv­enda-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

But an­other source de­nied this: “The Vhembe re­gion of the ANC moved as a unit over the years and not along tribal lines – even when bar­gain­ing for pow­er­ful po­si­tions in the ANC’s pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship.”

An­other source said: “Flames that were ex­tin­guished in Mala­mulele reached Vuwani, where more than 30 schools were ei­ther torched or dam­aged in vi­o­lent protests against mu­nic­i­pal de­mar­ca­tions.”

Pro-Makhado spokesper­son Nsovo Sambo said: “Mala­mulele peo­ple made it clear ... that they wanted their own mu­nic­i­pal­ity and did not want to be un­der the Ven­dadom­i­nated Thu­lamela. Why place Vuwani res­i­dents un­der a new mu­nic­i­pal­ity with peo­ple who didn’t want to be with them?”

But Mala­mulele task team spokesper­son Ike Nuk­eri also ac­cused Vuwani com­mu­ni­ties of trib­al­ism.

“They clearly do not want to be ser­viced by a mu­nic­i­pal­ity dom­i­nated by Tsonga peo­ple. They want to re­vive the home­land sit­u­a­tion.”

Limpopo Premier Stan Matha­batha con­firmed that the prov­ince was fac­ing a stale­mate.

“We are caught in the mid­dle and can only hope that all stake­hold­ers reach com­mon ground. The sad­dest part is that chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion is af­fected.”

When asked for com­ment, Lim345 mayor Joyce Bila said a mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son would call City Press, but this did not hap­pen. The same hap­pened when ANC pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary in Limpopo Nocks Se­abi was asked to com­ment. Bon­gani Ngqu­lunga, Zuma’s spokesper­son, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment ei­ther.

Stan Matha­batha

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