UPDATE: N2 near Plettenberg Bay still closed following overnight protests

2019-05-08 06:49

The N2 near the Bitou Municipality in Plettenberg Bay remained closed on Wednesday morning following overnight protest action. 

Tyres are still burning and various roads in Qolweni are barricaded, the municipality said. 

"Public order police and crowd management units are in Qolweni...to clear barricades and the N2.

"Traffic will continue to be rerouted through Plettenberg Bay town into Robberg/Airport roads for traffic from Knysna or Port Elizabeth directions. An update will be given once the N2 has been opened." 

The municipality on Tuesday night issued an urgent advisory as protesters took to the streets and threw rocks at passing vehicles.

According to a statement issued by the municipality, the N2 was closed at Rasta (Qolweni) at around 22:00 on Tuesday due to protest.

This followed a meeting earlier at around 19:00 in the community after which protesters started throwing stones at cars and blocking the roads using, among other things, a Seaview rubbish bin.

Police have reportedly been on the scene.

"Some of the Qolweni guys also went into New Horizons to blow whistles. This is usually a call to protest action," the statement read. 

"Traffic has been rerouted through town onto the Robberg/Airport road. SAPS and Public Order Police will monitor and manage the situation." 

READ: Six arrested in the North West for torching electoral officer's car as special votes are disrupted

According to the statement, the protesters are mobilising a stay-away from voting in the national and provincial elections on Wednesday and are unhappy about the slow pace of housing delivery. 

'Let voting continue peacefully'

On Tuesday, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) once again urged disgruntled South Africans not to disrupt the voting processes and allow people their constitutional right to vote on Wednesday, News24 reported.

Giving a final update on their election readiness, IEC chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo called for peace and calm ahead of the big day on Wednesday.

"Let voting continue peacefully, calmly and without disruption and let us once against show the world that South Africa remains a shining light of democracy in action," Mamabolo said. "The campaigning has been done; it is now the turn of the voters to have their say."

While the IEC noted a significant decline in community protests this week, Mamabolo reminded citizens that Wednesday was a day for the electorate to make their mark on the ballot papers, rather than protest.

"Citizens are reminded that any disruption to elections constitutes a criminal offence," he said.

Violent incidents

Isolated incidents across the country have disrupted some of the special votes, which has led to a number of stations across the country opening late or not opening at all.

Mamabolo said this included two stations in the North West, a province which has been identified as a hotspot.

On Monday, during the first day of special voting, a group of knife wielding men accosted IEC officials who were conducting home visits in Giyani, Limpopo.

ALSO READ: IEC removes deputy presiding officer from Benoni voting station following viral video

According to Mamabolo, the men confiscated 93 unused provincial ballot papers, which they then destroyed.

"Fortunately, no one was injured, and the cast ballots were secured and not affected," Mamabolo said.

He added that two suspects have already been arrested.

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Find everything you need to know about the 2019 National and Provincial Government Elections at our News24 Elections site, including the latest news and detailed, interactive maps for how South Africa has voted over the past 3 elections. Make sure your News24 app is updated to access all our elections coverage in one place.

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Read more on:    iec  |  george  |  elections 2019

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