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Matatiele calm after demarcation violence

Police reported that Matatiele was calm on Friday in the wake of violence that erupted following a march in support of the town’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape province.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Mzukisi Fatyela said police were monitoring the situation in the town and that extra units had been deployed to ensure there was no repeat of Thursday’s violence.

On Thursday, 11 people were admitted to hospital with numerous injuries sustained from rubber bullets fired by police in a bid to restore calm to the city.

Three people with serious injuries had to be referred to hospitals in Mthatha and Pietermaritzburg.

Fatyela said that one person had also been shot with a live round in the back. Police were investigating the shooting as well as the looting of shops.

The violence erupted following a march organised by the Matatiele Youth Council.

Alfred Nzo district municipal spokesperson Mphumzi Zuzile said the buses that had brought the marchers had not been paid for either by the district municipality or the Matatiele municipality.

He confirmed that permission for the march had been granted by the municipality.

On Thursday, Matatiele-Maluti mass-action organising committee chairperson Mandla Galo said the march had been funded by the Matatiele municipality.

The committee filed papers with the Constitutional Court in August this year to argue against the district’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape.

In August last year, the Constitutional Court ruled the re-demarcation of KwaZulu-Natal’s boundaries was invalid as procedures had been inconsistent with the Constitution.

While the Eastern Cape had held public hearings on the re-demarcation of Matatiele, KwaZulu-Natal had not. It was found there had been insufficient public participation.

On November 1, the KwaZulu-Natal legislature voted by a narrow margin in favour of the controversial Constitution 13th Amendment Bill.

Matatiele was incorporated into the Eastern Cape on February 28, hours before voting started in the 2006 local government election.

Similarly, the Umzimkulu region was incorporated into KwaZulu-Natal from the Eastern Cape.

The governing African National Congress has been accused of ignoring the wishes of the district’s residents. More than 8 000 residents attended public hearings last year at the town’s soccer stadium.

More than 5 000 submissions against the district’s incorporation into the Eastern Cape were received. According to the Democratic Alliance, there were only 80 submissions in favour of incorporation. — Sapa

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