ANC’s Duarte talks to empty Vuwani hall as residents continue R750m rampage

News24 Correspondent

Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC) wave a party flag during the party's 104th anniversary celebrations in Rustenburg, South Africa January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
Supporters of the African National Congress (ANC). REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Vuwani – Residents in Vuwani boycotted an ANC meeting on Wednesday, clashing with police yet again as they continued to burn tyres and blockade roads.

Police had earlier used rubber bullets to disperse protesters.

While ANC deputy secretary general, Jessie Duarte, addressed an almost empty hall – with only government employees, councillors and ANC officials in attendance – a fight broke out between police and protesters.

Protesters threw stones and barricaded the road between Vuwani and Elim with burning tyres. Concrete was also dumped in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, Duarte said they were prioritising restoring the schools protesters had damaged or burnt down. The area needed to be stabilised to ensure schooling got underway.

“The restoration of 20 schools is our biggest problem now. Firstly we have to stabilise the entire community, people are living under fear, they are afraid to raise their voices,” said Duarte.

She believed a consultation process would ensure a solution was found.

The Vhembe municipal area was this week declared a disaster area after 50 schools were either burnt down or vandalised in protest against a Municipal Demarcation Board decision to incorporate Vuwani into a new municipality.

On April 29, the Limpopo High Court dismissed residents’ attempts to overturn the decision.

Minister of Basic Angie Motshekga said on Tuesday it would cost at least R750m to repair the damage. Many of the schools’ records and the annual matric marks were destroyed.

The schools were in villages in the Vuwani-Levubu area, and did not have the broadband and internet access to store records off-site. Many were in very rural areas and police could not reach them quickly. – News24