Vuwani_protestsThe Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (IMATU) strongly condemns the burning, destruction and vandalism of state facilities that has taken place this week in Vuwani, Limpopo.

Reports indicate that 19 schools have been damaged and several others vandalised as a result of protest action, relating to the Municipal Demarcation Board’s decision to include this area into the newly formed Malamulele Municipality. Protesting community members are demanding that they be separated from the Malamulele Municipality and incorporated under the old Makhadu Municipality.

“While it is evident that a number of factors are contributing to growing frustration, all parties involved have a role to play in resolving this very serious problem. Affected communities must desist from destruction to state property and our Government has a responsibility to prevent further damage as well as addressing the underlying causes of the community’s outrage,” stated IMATU General Secretary, Johan Koen.

IMATU has become increasingly alarmed at the growing levels of violent protests recorded around the country. Corruption, poor service delivery, inequality, skills shortages, wasteful expenditure, poor governance and infrastructure theft are some of the contributing factors to growing unrest.

“Grievances relating to poor service delivery, fraud, corruption and inadequate accountability in municipalities must be addressed however, these specific protests have caused damage to school buildings that will take millions of Rands to rebuild and repair. Violent protest action has also forced nearby schools to close, preventing children from attending class and halting the academic programme,” commented Koen.

IMATU believes that the relevant leadership throughout the three tiers of Government must address this unfolding crisis swiftly. Community members have the right to raise their grievances and concerns, however the rule of law must be respected. In conclusion, IMATU trusts that the perpetrators of this violence and destruction will be held accountable.