Protesters vow to shut down N3

2014-08-23 00:00

MOTORISTS were yesterday being warned of stone-throwing incidents on the N3 at Mooi River as protesters threatened to shut down the national route.

A crowd of about 3 000 Bruntville residents pelted cars on the N3 near the toll plaza with stones and flung burning tyres onto the highway.

The chaotic service delivery protest began at 3 am and was still continuing late yesterday as residents called for the removal of all the Mpofana Municipality councillors including the mayor, Janet Mchunu.

They burnt tyres and blockaded all access routes into the township, with pupils and workers unable to leave and asked to join the illegal protest.

A South African Social Security Agency vehicle that was supposed to pay pensions and grants was not allowed to enter the township until residents cleared parts of the road after more than an hour of negotiating.

Angry resident Jabulani Duma said they wanted the municipal leadership gone.

“We have unemployment and there is corruption in the RDP housing delivery,” he said.

Duma said their council did not consult them before delivering their budget vote.

He said there were problems with water and electricity. They had marched to the council twice but nobody accepted their memorandum.

He accused the council of nepotism and blocking development.

“We have no indigent policy in place to cater for pensioners and child-headed homes,” said Duma.

Police monitored the situation in the morning but when the Tactical Response Team arrived at 1 pm, they set about forcefully removing the crowd.

The crowd responded by throwing stones at the police, who in turn used stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters.

They then divided up so that while police were busy controlling part of the crowd, the rest stoned moving traffic along the N3.

Council leadership refused to meet protesters and the community vowed to seal off the N3.

Mchunu and municipal manager Max Moyo were not available for comment.

• thobani.ngqulunga@witness.co.za

PROVINCIAL police spokesperson, Colonel Jay Naicker said 13 suspects aged between 17 and 37 were arrested during the protest.

“They will appear in the Mooi River Magistrate’s Court on charges of illegal gathering and public violence,” Naicker said.

He said police are monitoring the situation.

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To establish if the route is safe to drive on, call 0800 634357 (0800N3HELP) or check @N3route for updates on Twitter.

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