Protesters in Mbombela blocked roads including the N4 highway linking South Africa to Mozambique with trucks Wednesday morning as they demonstrated against fuel prices rising to a new record.
The road between Mbombela, 350 kilometers east of Johannesburg, and White River has been obstructed by parked trucks, as is the N4 highway connecting the city to the border with Mozambique and the port of Maputo, Callum MacPherson, regional operations manager at Hi-Tech Security Nelspruit, said by phone.
There is also a group of protesters moving around the blockades, he said.
Petrol and diesel prices in South Africa surged to a fresh all-time high Wednesday on rising oil costs and as the government trimmed a temporary reduction in a fuel levy. Fuel has a weighting of almost 5% in South Africa’s consumer price basket and the increases will place further pressure on household finances and inflation.
Police in Mbombela, the Mpumalanga provincial capital, are trying to remove the trucks after drivers parked their vehicles and left with the keys, Selvy Mohlala, provincial spokesman for the South African Police Service, said by phone. Police are trying to redirect traffic to areas where there are no protests, he said.
The protests follow a strike by bus drivers in Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, on Monday after diesel prices were increased by 11% and petrol by 4.4%. The action ended after the government pledged to subsidize some fares.
Situation is very fluid in #Mbombela as soon as one area is opened they close at another area. Currently #N4 at Montrose Intersection for Schoemanskloof and Elandskloof is closed by Taxi's and Trucks pulled across the R40 at Barberton Carolina Badplaas intersection@Vusi_Dhlozi pic.twitter.com/3XQNaSF67T— SA emergency reports (@MARIUSBROODRYK) July 6, 2022