Sanral condemns 'ugly' Mooi River protests

2018-05-03 18:51
Trucks were set alight along the N3 freeway near the Mooi River toll plaza. (Arrive Alive via Twitter)

Trucks were set alight along the N3 freeway near the Mooi River toll plaza. (Arrive Alive via Twitter)

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The South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) has slammed the "violent and destructive protests" that took place earlier this week at the Mooi River toll plaza on the N3 freeway.

Sanral CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma said that while people had the right to protest, they did not have the right to destroy public or any other property.

"Clearly the ugly protests at the Mooi River toll plaza over the long weekend violated this principle," he said.

A total of 35 trucks, many of which were set alight, were damaged when the protest broke out on Sunday evening.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said that at around 19:30 a group of people began throwing objects on the N3 freeway.

READ: Violent protest action causes road closure on N3 near Mooi River toll plaza

"It is believed that the people who were protesting and throwing stones as well as burning objects caused extensive damage to property".

Macozoma said Sanral called on law enforcement agencies to "act decisively and see to it that those guilty of breaking the law are brought to book".

"This was not a matter in which the roads agency was directly involved, but it endangered the safety of those using the N3, damaged tourism prospects in the province and hurt the image of South Africa. No one and nothing was gained from the protest."

The agency would not speculate on the cause of the violent demonstration.

"The violence that often characterises demonstrations and protests is deplorable and can never be justified. There are other ways to settle disputes, and we ask that those involved find each other to resolve the outstanding issues."

Macozoma regretted the negative impact and inconvenience the violent incidents had on those travelling through the toll plaza.

Appeal for public's assistance

Eight people have since appeared in court for the damage during the protests after 56 were initially arrested.

"The senior public prosecutor has indicated to police that the evidence against 48 is insufficient and ordered that the police release them from custody," Mbhele said in a statement.

Six of the accused will be kept in police custody until May 7, while two minors were released into their parents' custody.

Police are appealing for the public to come forward with footage of the looting and burning of trucks. Anyone with information on the incident is urged contact Colonel Wiles on 082 469 9336.

Read more on:    sanral  |  durban  |  protests

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