Violent protests, blocked roads bring Ladysmith to a standstill

2020-02-27 17:05
Violent protests have broken out in Ladysmith, KZN with main roads in and out of the small town blocked. (Supplied)

Violent protests have broken out in Ladysmith, KZN with main roads in and out of the small town blocked. (Supplied)

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Major protests have brought the normally quiet KwaZulu-Natal town of Ladysmith to a standstill for over 24 hours.

Residents have lashed out at Alfred Duma Municipality Mayor Vincent Madlala, asking him to step down. They say that service delivery has been hampered for too long and that he has used public coffers to enrich himself.

After numerous attempts to get comment, municipal spokesperson Siya Maphalala did not respond to News24 throughout Thursday.

Hillside Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Ziyaad Warasally said they cautioned residents to stay indoors.

"We ask community members to avoid travel even in and around the CBD area and even in the suburbs. Acaciaville is blocked as well as most of the roads in the locations."

He said some roads were being cleared.

"However, it is still volatile. We have been told the protest is regarding service delivery and the people asking the mayor to step down."

Warasally said there were two previous shutdowns in the town and memorandums were handed to municipal officials.

"Yesterday they handed a third memorandum over. Thereafter, they started blocking roads. Police and Ladysmith public safety officers cleared them out last night. It is still quite volatile."

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said: "All major routes leading into and out of the town have been blockaded. A community hall in Ezakheni was set alight by unknown suspects and a truck was burnt yesterday morning in Colenso."

She said cases of public violence and malicious damage to property were opened for investigation.

"There were no injuries reported and no arrests made thus far. Public Order Police are at the scene to monitor and stabilise the situation."

uThukela District DA councillor Khulekani Msibi said the town was in turmoil.

"All incoming and outgoing roads are being blocked. More and more people are joining the protests, with tyres being burnt in roads such as Protea Drive and Centenary Road. The situation is extremely volatile and most businesses are shut."

He said reports indicated workers in the water sector were threatened to stop work.

"They are unable to pump water for the residents which have led to residents being without water for the past three days."

Read more on:    durban  |  service delivery  |  protests
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