AGGRIEVED residents of Vuwani in Limpopo will be part of the newly established Malamulele municipality in Vhembe district after the August 3 local government elections.
This is after the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane dismissed their application for a review of the Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision to merge part of their area and Malamulele to establish the new municipality.
The court ruled that the disgruntled residents failed to give enough reasons why the demarcation board’s decision had to be set aside.
Residents of Vuwani, mostly Venda-speaking, have refused to be incorporated into the Malamulele municipality, whose residents are predominantly Tsonga-speaking, for what appears to be tribal reasons.
Limpopo Judge President Ephraim Makgoba said the applicants failed to prove that the demarcation board’s decision was arbitrary and irrational.
“The applicants have not been able to show that the decision of the board is arbitrary or in any way lacking any rationality,” Judge Makgoba said.
He said the applicants also failed to prove that there was some important consideration which was ignored when the board took the decision in July last year.
Judge Makgoba ordered both parties to pay their respective legal costs.
Attorney Lindy Thomas, for the Limpopo Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, had earlier told the court the department wanted the matter finalised as soon as possible to pave the way for incident-free elections in the area.
The attorney for aggrieved residents of Vuwani, Allen Liver Sage, had insisted that the Masakona and Mashau communities had not been sufficiently consulted.
The two communities have been incorporated into the new Malamulele municipality.
Sage said the affected residents preferred to remain part of the Makhado municipality.
Municipal Demarcation Board acting chairperson Jane Thupana had earlier said that the Vuwani-Malamulele court case was about constitutional democracy, not a win-or-lose scenario.
Although confident of victory, she had vowed to respect whatever decision the court took.
Thovhele Mbangiseni Masia, spokesperson for traditional leaders in Vuwani, had equally been optimistic of victory when legal proceedings resumed last week.
“Of course we still have the same exceptions of being victorious over evil. We still have the same expectations of sanity prevailing at the end, but of course we are not the people who make such determinations. Such determinations are made by the judiciary,” Thovele Masia said.
Last week, hundreds of residents had travelled to Polokwane from Vuwani, about 150 kms away, to attend the case.
They had spent the night at the Polokwane Cricket Club.
Police had barricaded the streets in an around the court.
Malamulele residents, mostly Tsonga speaking, were granted their wish for their own municipality last year after embarking on a series of violent protests for years.
They had destroyed property, shut down schools, looted shops and declared Malamulele town a no-go area for senior ANC politicians and government officials.
They had accused officials at the Thulamela Municipality, which they fell under, of neglecting them in favour of Tshivenda speaking residents.
After the demarcation board yielded to the demands of the Malamulele residents, those from Venda-speaking Vuwani refused to be incorporated into Malamulele.
They went on their own rampage, vandalising property and torching the houses of suspected pro-Malamulele community leaders.