IEC Backtracks Decision To Conduct Special Votes In Protest-Hit Vuwani


The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has disclosed that special votes in protest-hit Vuwani, Limpopo, will no longer take place.

According to the electoral body, security concern was the primary reason why the special votes was cancelled.

Vyeboom, an area mostly occupied by Vuwani protesters are currently frustrating police efforts to restore peace in the area.

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At the most turbulent village of Vyeboom, access roads are still barricaded with stones, tree branches and other objects.

Several trenches were also dug on the roads.

The pro-Makahdo demarcation task team – a group of community members who bluntly refused to accept the incorporation of their villages into the new municipal entity; vowed to boycott the upcoming elections.

Fours days ago, representatives of traditional councils in the community agreed to give peace a chance after government engaged them in an extensive dialogue.

But pro-Makahdo demarcation task team spokesperson, Nsovo Sambo, said although Co-operative Governance Minister Des Van Rooyen and eight traditional leaders in the Vuwani area have signed an agreement, its members will wreck havoc during next week’s elections.

“It’s not binding to us as the pro-Makhado people. For the past two days until tomorrow (Saturday), the shutdown will be suspended and the services are running smoothly.

And then later tomorrow at half past five pm, the shutdown will continue. So nothing has changed for us. The agreement will be effected after August 3,” Sambo said authoritatively.

Vuwani Voters Still Scared

According to the IEC, 40,000 people in the community will be voting.

Most of them however said they will only vote should the police guarantee their safety.

Meanwhile, police are currently interrogating four suspects in connection with violent disruptions in the area.

“The clear charges against them haven’t been specifically formulated yet. It might be that one faces more serious charges than the other but we hope it will contribute to bring peace and stability in the area,” police’s Ronel Otto said.

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Vuwani protests saw more than 20 schools damaged or torched and several other infrastructure worth millions of rand destroyed.

Presently, there’s heavy police presence in the area and along its outskirts.

Armoured nyala vehicles have also been placed in pivotal locations and barbed wire has been stretched out to control movement.

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