Presidency defends Zuma no-show at Vuwani meeting

Presidency defends Zuma no-show at Vuwani meeting

A community meeting in Vuwani, Limpopo ended abruptly this afternoon as residents had to return home without being addressed by President Jacob Zuma.

Jacob Zuma
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The president was expected to speak at ten o'clock this morning, but enraged residents started leaving by three o'clock in the afternoon - by which time the president had still not arrived.


"The President will address the public on the decisions that were taken during a meeting convened on the 02nd May 2017," read a statement by the presidency.


It relates to a decision by the Municipal Demarcation Board to place Vuwani and Malamulele into a new stand-alone municipality.


The decision has seen the area being shut down numerous times, disrupting all services, including schooling and healthcare.

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"The most important issue for the president is to address a meeting that represents all interest groups in the district," says the Presidency's Bongani Ngqulunga, explaining why Zuma cancelled his speech.


"It was quite clear that the large numbers of the people who were present at that meeting are people who are against the new municipality." 


The crowd could be heard chanting "Zuma-Zuma-Zuma-Zuma" towards the end of the gathering, also booing Minister of Cooperative Governance Des van Rooyen when he tried to address them.


The issue at hand


Residents in Vuwani are protesting the establishment of a new municipality known as LIM 345, which they will share with residents of neighbouring Malamulele.


President Zuma met with community leaders throughout the day, including His Majesty King Toni Mphephu Ramabulana of Vha-Venda - where they managed to reach an interim agreement.


"The meeting accepted His Majesty's proposal that the Vhembe District Municipality should provide services to the people of Vuwani while a solution on the demarcation issue is being sought," says the Presidency.


Ngqulunga adds both the national and provincial government departments will support the district municipality during the duration of this agreement.


He explains the agreement does not mean that government will abandon the establishment of a new municipality.


The President has called on all residents to help restore normality while stakeholders try to find a permanent solution.


Ngqulunga says Zuma will return to the area to address all interest groups as he believes the differing views would result in a more fruitful discussion.

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