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Johannesburg - Transnet said on Thursday that it experienced interruptions to its operations on the Richards Bay coal line as a result of violent community protests in certain areas of northern KwaZulu-Natal.
 
According to Transnet, the protests related to community demands for jobs and business opportunities.
 
The disruption resulted in the suspension of coal line operations, service to customers and potential losses to the South African economy.
 
The Richard’s Bay coal line is the country’s dedicated railway line which handles South Africa’s coal exports by connecting the mines in Mpumalanga with the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) at the port of Richards Bay. The line also moves domestic commodities such aschrome, coke, chemicals and timber.
 
"Transnet is working closely with customers to ensure minimal disruption. We have deployed security in the affected areas and are working with relevant authorities to safeguard our employees, infrastructure and the assets of our customers," the freight and rail agency said in a statement.

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"Transnet wishes to appeal to communities to desist from destroying infrastructure as such activities pose a huge risk to the sustainability of the South African economy, including loss of lives due to train derailments and job losses."
 
Transnet said it remained open to engaging with relevant parties with a view to finding a common solution to the challenges, and was committed to the socio-economic development of the communities in which it operated.

AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY