Vuwani ‘wins’ amid ruined schools

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga inspects the burned down schools in Limpopo. Picture: Gallo Images

Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga inspects the burned down schools in Limpopo. Picture: Gallo Images

Two-dozen torched schools later, amid a shutdown of services, the re-demarcation decision is reportedly about to be reversed.

City Press reported on Sunday that government is finally about to relent on its stance that communities in Vuwani will need to be incorporated into a new municipality with Malamulele.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen was reportedly upset that people have been speaking to the media about an out-of-court settlement that will reverse the new demarcation boundaries approved by the Municipal Demarcation Board.

Following the torching by protesters of 24 schools in the area, pupils in affected schools in Grade 11 and below have received no schooling.

According to City Press, government has caved because of fears that voting in Vuwani might be severely curtailed if the shutdown of the area were allowed to persist.

A community leader in the area had reiterated to The Citizen on Friday that total shutdown of services in troubled Vuwani would only stop once government acceded to the demands of residents.

Arnold Mulaudzi said: “I am confident the shutdown will not continue beyond the August 3 local government elections because government cannot afford a prolonged shutdown and they will definitely succumb to our demands,” he said.

“For now, we have allowed matriculants to be taken to different camps where they will catch up on their lost learning time, but there is no schooling for the rest of the other pupils in Grades 1 to 11.”

This week, the provincial education department said it was satisfied with the work done in recovering lost teaching and learning time for matriculants. Spokesperson Naledzani Rasila said the pupils were ready to kick-start their mid-year examinations on Monday.

Mulaudzi stressed there would not be elections in the area unless residents got what they wanted.

“IEC officials were not allowed to do their work during the voter registration weekends and no one will be allowed to work on election day if the MDB’s decision is not reversed,” he said.

The shutdown gets lifted between every Friday afternoon and Sunday evening to allow funerals to proceed. Mulaudzi was among those protesters arrested on June 14. He was released on R1 500 bail on Thursday. He was charged with inciting violence.

Government officials have been in the area, having talks with local tribal leaders with the aim of restoring order and stability to the area, which remains tense.

The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union said this week that it would be almost impossible to recover lost learning and teaching time for pupils in Grades 1 to 11 should the tense situation remain unchanged when schools in other parts of the country reopen on July 18.

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