Shack fire, fatal bus accident plague Plettenberg Bay as violent protests continue

2019-07-05 08:28
The N2 in Plettenberg Bay remains closed following overnight protests. (Supplied)

The N2 in Plettenberg Bay remains closed following overnight protests. (Supplied)

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While violent service delivery protests entered a third day in Plettenberg Bay on Friday, authorities rushed to a fatal bus accident and were asked to escort a fire truck responding to a shack fire.

The bus driver took the Robberg/Airport Road toward Plettenberg because a section of the N2 was closed due to the protests, Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa said.

READ Plettenberg Bay protests: 59 arrested, N2 still closed after volatile 24 hours

He crashed and three people were killed. Two people were still trapped in the wreckage, said Africa.

A total of 43 people, who had multiple injuries, were taken to various hospitals and 23 were taken to a community centre.

The accident happened at around 03:00, just after Harkerville Primary School, according to Bitou Municipality spokesperson Manfred van Rooyen.

"Apparently, the driver of the Eagleliner lost control on a bend due to wet road surface conditions, following rain overnight," Van Rooyen said.

The Bitou fire department arrived first and directed traffic. A stop-and-go system was in place.

Police, forensic pathology personnel, four ambulances and traffic officials were also on the scene.



Just two hours later, at around 05:00, the fire department received a report of multiple shacks on fire in Bossiesgif.

"A crew from [the] Bitou fire department is on standby at the Shell Ultra City circle on the N2 to attend to the call, but awaits to be escorted by SAPS (SA Police Service) due to the continued protest activities," said Van Rooyen.

The N2 remained closed between the Shell Ultra City and Kwanokuthula on Friday morning as the protests over housing and poor service delivery continued. 

Officials and residents of Qolweni have yet to reach an agreement over several grievances, most of which were raised last month.

A total of 59 people have been arrested since the protests started. Officers have used stun grenades and rubber bullets during stand-offs to disperse groups.

Sergeant Chris Spies said 23 people faced charges of housebreaking following a burglary in the industrial area on Thursday, while others faced charges of public violence.

Van Rooyen said police and private security officials foiled "an attempted cash-in-transit heist of a SBV vehicle" by protesters.

However, they had been too late to stop the looting and ransacking of the Spotlight Nightclub in the industrial area. 

"... Bitou no longer considers this to be a protest action given the public evidence of widespread crime and lawlessness which includes looting, theft, burglaries, malicious damage to properties and public violence," he said.

"Bitou therefore welcomes the arrests made thus far and promises its full co-operation to the police efforts and as the municipality calls on witnesses to come to the fore to give evidence that can assist with ongoing investigations and successful prosecution of perpetrators."

Municipal offices remain closed until further notice.

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