Malamulele riots: Premier steps in

Newly appointed Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha. Pic: Limpopo Provincial Government

By Sydney Masinga & Orlando Chauke

Giyani – The Limpopo provincial government and the Municipal Demarcation Board (MDB) have stepped in to reopen consultation processes to consider creating a separate municipality for the Malamulele area.

Newly appointed Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha. Pic: Limpopo Provincial Government
Limpopo premier Stanley Mathabatha had to step in to try and solve Malamulele residents’ cries for a municipality in their area, after the residents burnt government and private property in protests. Pic: Limpopo Provincial Government

On Tuesday, 45 people were arrested after the residents of Malamulele near Giyani barricaded streets and set shops and some government offices alight. They were protesting the closure of applications for municipal boundaries following their application to the MDB last year.

“After much deliberation from all sides, it was evident that most documents which the Malamulele Task Team submitted to the MDB either got lost or did not reach the intended destination before the cut-off date of 2012,” provincial government spokesperson Kenny Mathivha said on Wednesday.

“It was agreed that the quest for municipality status by the Malamulele community should not be closed, although several other processes need to be reopened to reach that avenue.”

Mathivha called for calm as a political solution involving the national office of the ANC and the ANC Provincial Task Team (PTT) was being sought with the help of Premier Stanley Mathabatha.

The MDB has since referred all queries to the provincial government following Tuesday’s violent protest.

In 2012, the community of Malamulele applied to the MDB to be granted their own municipality, arguing that Thulamela is too big and does not cater for the 107 villages of Malamulele.

However, last month, they were told that the deadline for municipal boundaries applications had closed and would only be dealt with during the local government elections in 2016.

This did not go down very well with residents, who embarked on a series of violent and destructive protests, damaging property including a grader, truck, six light cars, two public storerooms, 37 houses and four offices belonging to the Public Works Department.

On Monday, Mathabatha met with MDB chairperson Landiwe Mahlangu and other officials in Polokwane to find a solution to the ongoing strife in the area.

On Tuesday, fresh protests erupted after a public meeting where the Malamulele Task Team reported back to the community.

“More than 45 people were arrested after shops were first looted and later burnt down. The local Home Affairs office was also burnt down,” provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Wednesday.

Mulaudzi said the suspects were still in custody and would appear in the Malamulele Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of public violence. – SAnews.gov.za

Author: SANews

Articles by SANews are written by various highly qualified journalists employed by the SANews, a news agency established by the Government Communication and Information System. It provides up to the minute news on South Africa. In most cases journalists are identified in the by-line of articles.