The closure of the critical N3 and N2 routes in the early stages of a coordinated campaign of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal was pivotal in kneecapping the police response to looting and vandalism - and compounding the devastating economic toll of the insurrection.
Data mapping of the wave of chaos which gripped the country in July – by News24 in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies - revealed forced blockades on both the N3 and N2 were the first salvo, which preceded a wave of attacks on thousands of factories, warehouses and businesses across the province.
The objective, experts said, was likely twofold. The first was hampering the movement of police forces in the province and choking their ability to reinforce ranks in responding to the violence. The second, with police effectively waylaid, was to ensure the maximum economic impact by shutting the key freight routes to trade.