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The Cape’s most important freeway – the N1 – was closed before dawn today when protesters in De Doorns staged protests, apparently around service delivery.
From around 5am, the road at the foot of the Hex River Pass was littered with rocks and burning tyres.
The N1 was shut and traffic was diverted to alternative routes via Robertson and the R62 in the Klein Karoo.
Around 200 to 250 people gathered at the BP petrol station near De Doorns.
On both sides of the road vehicles queued for kilometres, awaiting the reopening of the highway.
The vehicles were primarily heavy trucks, for which the N1 is the country’s main haulage artery.
At least 50 trucks were queueing in both directions. The protests prompted a strong police response, but by mid-morning there appeared to be a stalemate – with the protesters showing no signs of moving from their position on the N1 and the police making no attempt to remove them with conventional crowd-control equipment such as water cannons.
The crowd of protesters appeared to be growing slowly, although there were no signs of negotiation between police and the protesters.
Some of the protesters said they were upset at the poor standard of housing in the area, as well as the lack of job opportunities for locals, as they claimed there was a preference for Worcester residents.
There also seemed to be dissatisfaction with the DA councillor in the area, with calls being made for the official to be removed.