KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka has condemned the practice of ukuthwala where young women are kidnapped and forced into marriage against their will. Hlomuka made these remarks today in the area of Isandlwana in Bergville (Okhahlamba local municipality) where he officially adopted the Vuma High School which he has also promised to rally business and NGOs behind to provide support and resources to.

In adopting the school, which has over 160 learners, Hlomuka aims to ensure that he plays his part as a deployee of the Provincial Legislature in ensuring that the young men and women of Bergville are empowered through education.

“Our visit today to Bergville today is as deployed Members of the Provincial Legislature under the programme that encourages us to adopt schools, hospitals and police stations near our communities so that we can ensure that service delivery is not hindered in these important institutions,” said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka visited the school and also visited the Emmaus Hospital which is the main hospital servicing this deeply rural community. During his visit, Hlomuka interacted with the patients and motivated staff to continue the great work they are doing in providing important health care to our communities.

The MEC also committed to providing lightning conductors to the hospital as Bergville is prone to severe thunderstorms which pose a risk to patients and staff. Hlomuka also visited the Upper-Tugela police station which services the large area of Ward 5 of the Okhahlamba local municipality.

The MEC was apprised by the station commander of challenges they are facing, including the high rate of stock theft in the area. The police station also has a broken pump station which means that it has gone without water for three months. Hlomuka has pledged to liaise with the relevant departments to resolve some of the challenges faced by the police station so that they can improve the quality of service given to the community.