Group block road over tender row

2016-05-05 09:00
Pietermaritzburg SAPS communications officer Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese.

Pietermaritzburg SAPS communications officer Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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Pietermaritzburg - Disruptive protests along the R603 near Eston shut down the road on Wednesday for several hours.

Workers operating the “stop-go” signs along R603 while the road was being re-tarred were allegedly chased away from their posts by opposition contractors.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the Camperdown police had received a call that a disgruntled group of people disrupted the roadworks on Wednesday as they felt they should have received the tender instead of the current contractors.

A community member who would not be named said the contractors had been parking their vehicles and storing their equipment on farms around the area for fear of having the property damaged.

He said the situation was “chaos” and the roads “an absolute mess”.

The resident said the stop-go stations along the 25 km of road being re-tarred had been especially problematic.

“Two nights ago, the community heard that a group wanted part of the contracts tender,” he said.

“At around 9 pm on Tuesday night, they came to the stop-go stations and chased the workers away. There was one lane for two-way traffic and no one was monitoring it.

“Luckily the roads were not too busy because it was late at night,” he said.

KZN Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane said they had received reports that traffic along the R603 had been disrupted and the road was closed for several hours due to the protests.

“Intervention by the police and local community leaders saw the disgruntled group agree to open the road again after several hours,” said Ncalane.

“The road is now opened and the matter is being addressed.”

Ngobese said that the police had the situation under control and would be on alert for further possible protest action.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest

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