Motorists delayed as protesters block M4Comment on this story
Durban - Shots were heard early on Thursday morning in oThongathi after irate informal dwellers - unhappy with service delivery - took to the streets for the second time in three weeks.
More than 200 people from Thuthukani informal settlement near Seatides barricaded the road with rocks and burning tyres resulting in the busy Durban M4 freeway (both north - and south-bound) being shut down for hours.
Traffic was being diverted to the N2, causing massive delays as thousands of commuters tried to make their way to work in peak hour traffic.
The road, strewn with debris, broken glass and large stones and bricks had been cleared of protesters by police using water cannons and gas canisters.
When the Daily News arrived, the crowd had been dispersed and had run up a nearby hill in an attempt to dodge police.
Police said shots had been fired closer to the settlement allegedly by protesters, but police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, could not confirm this.
Police people began gathering from 4am and tension had been building from the night before.
“They are still not happy with service delivery here,” said a police officer on the scene.
The community had taken to the streets on June 17 over the same issues.
A memorandum from the residents of the informal settlement was handed to city officials at the previous protest, in which they demanded they be relocated or allocated houses in the nearby Waterloo area.
Metro police acting spokesman, Superintendent Sibonelo Mchunu, said police were monitoring the situation for any more flare-ups.
Zwane added that five people were arrested and charged with public violence.
“Police cars and private vehicles were damaged by the rocks. The road is still closed even though people have been cleared. We need to clean the road to make it safe for motorists.”