The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Vuwani has commended the Limpopo Provincial Government for ensuring that a technical team is in place to assist with the implementation of services in LIM345 and all its 36 wards.
The technical team is made up of all provincial departments. The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on Thursday said the IMC has noted that the situation in Vuwani in Vhembe District is still volatile and unstable, as a shutdown continues to rage in some parts of LIM345.
This follows a meeting held by the IMC on Wednesday. The IMC has welcomed progress made towards implementing the decisions taken to stabilise the situation and return life to normal in LIM345.
According to the department, the meeting emphasised an urgent need for services to be provided in all wards of Lim345.
As per the stakeholder engagements agreements, the Vuwani office was opened on 7 September to render services to communities. Of concern is that even though there is progress being registered as agreed, the shutdown still continues in some parts of LIM345 and this is disappointing, the department said.
The meeting also noted an extensive stakeholder consultation process that has been undertaken by the provincial government.
The IMC has urged all the stakeholders to continue working together to address the issues raised during the consultation. Concern was raised that some stakeholders do not take the process seriously as they fail to attend meetings.
The IMC chairperson and Cogta Minister, Des van Rooyen, said the non-attendance of meetings by some stakeholders, like the Pro-Makhado Demarcation Task Team, flies in the face of efforts aimed at resolving challenges and this might suggest that they are negotiating in bad faith.
"As the IMC, we recognise an important role that all stakeholders play in the process of finding an amicable solution to the challenges raised, hence we are sounding a clarion call for more fruitful engagements.
The meeting noted that the ongoing shutdown in some parts of LIM345 negates the progress being made, including the opening of offices in Vuwani.
Shutdown affects learners
School learners remain the most affected, especially those in Grade 12 as they have missed their preliminary examinations.
This, the department said, will further affect learners' ability to finalise preparations for the end of year examinations scheduled to start next month.
On the other hand, businesses in Vuwani are also feeling the strain as a result of the shutdown.
The IMC has condemned the continued shutdown, as it denies communities their right to access services.
The IMC has also called on all parents and community members to take a stand against the senseless, destructive and unnecessary inconvenience caused by the shutdown of services.
The department said the Security Cluster will continue to ensure visibility to protect communities and their property.
Vhembe Development Support Package.
With regards to progress made in the implementation of the Vhembe Development Support Package, the department said there are projects from national, provincial and local partners, which include the provision of basic services and social cohesion programme.
The package outlines various projects that will be undertaken by various government departments and non-government structures.
To ensure proper implementation and monitoring, progress on the implementation of this package has been included as a standing item on the Provincial HOD Forum agenda.
The IMC has noted that eight social cohesion dialogues have already been staged in Vuwani and the Ministry of Arts and Culture has committed to continue the dialogues and will also do a study to understand the challenges better.
Once these programmes are implemented, the IMC believes that communities will come together and ensure that life goes back to normal.
From these social cohesion dialogues, it was clear that social co-existence in LIM345 is possible. Some of the communities in that area have been living side by side for years, said the department.
The IMC has resolved to challenge and dismiss any perceptions or suggestions of tribalism in Vhembe, which seek to suggest that people cannot stay together.
Ours is a caring government that will always strive and stop at nothing to bring to life the words of former President Nelson Mandela, that 'no one was born hating another person because of the colour of their skin or background or religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite," said the Minister.
The IMC has urged all communities to unite and contribute to move LIM345 forward. The IMC said any form of discrimination, whether it is masked as tribalism or any form of intolerance, is not acceptable and it will not be tolerated in a democratic South Africa.
While a temporary solution will be implemented for now, a permanent plan is been sought to deal with all matters amicably, said Minister Van Rooyen.
The IMC will monitor the situation in Vuwani and also engage all stakeholders and communities in the affected areas of LIM345.
Source: South African Government News Agency