Schools, shops, still closed in Malamulele

No schooling for Malamulele pupils amidst protests over separate municipality. Picture: TimesLIVE
No schooling for Malamulele pupils amidst protests over separate municipality. Picture: TimesLIVE

Schools and shops remained closed in Malamulele on Wednesday, with an apparent lull in protests for a separate municipality, Limpopo police said.

“No further incidents were recorded… nothing [was reported] through the night and into the morning,” Lt-Col Ronel Otto said.

“We are still maintaining our police presence in the area.”

Protesters have shut the town down in their demand for a separate municipality after complaints about poor service delivery by the Thulamela municipality.

On Tuesday, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said police would move in to open the township, remove barricades and allow classes to resume.

The Municipal Demarcation Board announced on Friday that residents’ proposal for a separate municipality had been rejected.

Protesters are challenging the decision, saying their submissions were undermined.

A section of Malamulele High School was set alight on Monday night.

On Tuesday, another school in Gikana village, about 40km from Malamulele, was torched. A third was set alight at the nearby Xikunda village.

While police have not confirmed that the fires were the result of arson, protest leaders have vowed not to retreat until their demands were met.

An African National Congress committee has been formed to investigate conditions in the municipality and to ensure service provision improved.

The protests flared up in May, before the country’s general elections, subsided and then resumed last month.

Some residents have also alleged that the Thulamela municipality has been channelling services to Tshivenda-speaking areas, rather than their own, which is dominated by Xitsonga speakers.

-SAPA

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