Durban - Safety and security officials in KwaZulu-Natal have condemned the torching of two trucks and the blockading of the N2 between Mtubatuba and Hluhluwe on Tuesday.
According to police reports around 5.30am a group of 250 people blockaded the N2 near Madanyeni area and set two trucks on fire.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the incident is believed to be linked to service delivery protests in the area.
"Two trucks were set alight. The situation was tense and Public Order Police members were called in to stabilize the situation. Two charges of malicious damage to property will be opened at KwaMsane police station for investigation," she said.
Zinhle Mngomezulu, spokesperson for the KZN Road Traffic Inspectorate said their officers were also on scene and the road had to be temporarily closed. Videos captured by people on and near the scene also showed the trucks being looted.
Members of the community blocked the N2 near the Zamimpilo Market at Mfekaye in Mtubatuba in the early hours of this morning protesting against the slow progress of service delivery in the area. Among the issues that have sparked the protest include building of a Police station, Clinic and government subsidised houses.
In a statement KZN MEC for Transport, Community safety and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda said law enforcement agencies should heighten visibility in the area, particularly the N2 Freeway between Hluhluwe and Mtubatuba.
He also warned community members to stop causing havoc and damage to public or private property during their protest.
“Torching of trucks and blocking the N2 freeway is an act of criminality. As government we will not tolerate such blatant disrespect of the rule of law. The N2 freeway is a gateway to our neighbouring countries such as Swaziland and Mozambique and therefore the blockading of this route disrupts the transportation of many goods which are destined to these countries which are our trade partners,” he said.
Kaunda said the police are on the ground to bring to book those responsible for torching trucks during the protest. He also called on communities to engage the government and other relevant structures and find mutually beneficial solutions to their concerns.
He said in effort to eliminate the spate of illegal public protests in the province, the provincial government has developed the Provincial Intergovernmental Relations Protocol on Public Protest Management. “This protocol will go a long way in assisting government to detect such incidents before they escalate into public protests,” said Kaunda.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the road had been cleared and traffic was moving slowly. Police were at the scene and monitoring the situation.