Protest over water at Tugela Ferry turns ugly

2017-05-17 12:04
A man wheels a fridge away as Tugela Ferry residents loot shops during violent service delivery protests.

A man wheels a fridge away as Tugela Ferry residents loot shops during violent service delivery protests. (Supplied )

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Tugela Ferry residents protesting over water shortages yesterday left a trail of destruction after embarking on a violent demonstration marked by the blockage of roads, stoning of vehicles and the looting of shops.

uMsinga police, who since Tuesday morning had been battling to control the protesters, claim that shots were fired at police officers who had been attempting to stop the crowd from destroying public property and looting shops.

“The situation is tense at the moment and SAPS members are monitoring the situation. Charges of attempted murder‚ malicious damage to property and public violence were opened at Msinga police station for investigation‚” KZN police spokesperson, Captain Nqobile Gwala said.

IFP councillor, Buyiswa Ngcobo, who is also the uMsinga Local Municipality mayor, said council offices, health facilities and shops had to be closed after protesters had become violent.

“I’m stuck here in Cwaka and have not been able to drive past as the protesters are throwing stones at vehicles and refusing to be addressed.” The situation has reached a crisis and people now fear for their lives. Ngcobo said there was little the local municipality could do as water supply in the area was the function of the uMzinyathi District Municipality, which currently was in a state of paralysis after council could not be constituted following a stalemate between political parties after last year’s local government elections.

“As a result there is no communication between the local and district municipality given that there is no mayor or any other office bearer that I can talk to in uMzin­yathi,” she said.

Sources at the Church of Scotland Hospital in the area said the protest resulted in the closure of the health facility.

“The protesters had blocked the entrance to the hospital, making it impossible for health workers as well as patients to either enter or leave. We fear for the worse as patients ... are currently not able to receive proper treatment,” a source said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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