By Rolivhuwa Sadiki
The Pro-Makhado Task Team and its supporters resolved at a meeting on Tuesday, hours before millions of South Africans go to the polls, that they will not be voting in this year’s general and provincial elections in the Vuwani area.
The Pro- Makhado Dermacation Task Team has been engaged in a long raging battle to be re-incorporated into the Makhado Local Municipality. The battle which has led to a string of violent confrontations and shutdowns came after the Municipal Demarcation Board incorporated the area into the newly formed Collins Chabane municipality. In 2016 more than 25 schools were burnt down as part of the protest action.
On Tuesday scores of residents packed into the dilapidated Vuwani sport stadium to decide on a way forward regarding the elections.
Chairperson of the Pro-Makhado Dermacation Task Team, Takalani Emmanuel Mukhudi says on election-day, residents of Vuwani will not be voting. They (the residents) will be keeping themselves busy with various activities such as playing cards, soccer and dancing.
Mukhudi further says the residents will not be compromising when it comes to their demands until an amicable decision is reached with the government.
“Whether 200 people vote or not, the principle of not engaging in any Collins Chabane municipality related activities will still be maintained,” he added.
However, he says that those who are willing to take part in the election have the right to do so.
“We have indicated that those who will vote will not suffer any form of discrimination. It is their right to vote after all,” said Mukhudi.
In the 2016 local government election only 400 of the 34,000 registered voters in the district cast their ballots.
In total, 28 voting stations in Vuwani had been opened on Monday and Tuesday for special votes where 116 people who had registered were expected to cast their votes. About 500 more were to be visited at their homes.
National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and some various police units from Limpopo and Gauteng visited the area on Monday. Sitole warned the task team against disrupting the election after a few roads leading to various voting stations were blocked in Vyeboom.
However the task team has vowed to boycott the election in what they call a “peaceful manner” until the Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) makes a commitment on the municipal boundaries issue.
On the eve of the election on Tuesday schools and businesses remained shut as the residents together with the task team embarked on a total shut down. The streets were largely deserted and police armoured vehicles kept watch on the business district from various positions.