Durban - One person has died and two others were hospitalised when criminals began looting shops and homes in Sea Cow Lake on Monday.
Roads were blocked off, homes were stoned and a shop was looted during an outbreak of protests in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday morning. Protests also took place in Mandini, oThongathi and in Port Shepstone.
In Sea Cow Lake the exact cause of the protest was still being investigated.
Ashok Maharajh, eThekwini the Ward 34 councillor said the protest could have stemmed from a meeting over labour issues with the Go!Durban project.
Maharajh said he was not asked to attend the meeting but he will have a meeting with the disgruntled protesters later on Monday.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane believes the protest could have escalated after a shooting incident on Sunday night.
“A group of about 100 people attacked tuckshops owners in the Kenville area. The shop owners opened fire, fatally wounding a 22-year-old man on the neck and wounding other two victims who were rushed to a hospital for medical attention,” Zwane said.
Tuckshops, many owned by foreign nationals, were looted and burnt by protesters. Zwane said passing vehicles were also stoned and damaged.
“Two counts of attempted murder, murder and public violence were opened at Greenwood Park police station for investigation. Two suspects were arrested for public violence and will appear in court soon,” Zwane said.
Maharajh said he had been inundated with calls from residents, who spoke in hushed tones from inside their homes, wanting to know what was happening.
“Residents are living in fear. They could hear gunshots and people screaming. Some witnessed houses being looted. I think it was nothing but an excuse to go on a wild rampage. If you protest you do not behave like a criminal,” Maharajh said.
Mobs of people walked through the area overturning refuse bins, cutting down tree branches and placing them across the roads and stoning homes.
The area has three large informal settlements behind Sea Cow Lake Road. Early on Monday morning Inanda Road, the main arterial road through to Durban, was blocked off between the NCP and Peters Road by tyres and rubble.
Unconfirmed reports were that a petrol station, a doctor's surgery and several shops were looted or stoned.
Summaya Khan, who resides on Sea Cow Lake Road with her family, said they were asleep when they heard noises on the road. When she switched her lights on someone threw bricks at her home. Three of her window panes were smashed at 3am.
“None of us left the home for work. I had to stay at home. They looted a liquor store nearby and were carting the goods in trolleys. It was more than a protest. They barricaded Temple Road with planks and tree branches,” Khan said.
Another resident of Boxwood Road said the area was very tense and he had seen a home that was occupied by foreign nationals being looted.
“We had to remain quiet in our homes. There were a group of thugs walking around. The people from the looted house fled in different directions. We saw people walk out with their stuff,” the resident said.
In Port Shepstone, a group of 100 protesters from the Boboyi and Murchison areas blockaded the N2 from Ngwazi to ABC bus stops complaining about service delivery.
“Port Shepstone Crime Prevention is monitoring the situation. The traffic is diverted at Marburg intersection. Motorists had to use an alternative route to Harding and Kokstad. No damages or injuries reported at this stage,” Zwane said.
Zwane said a group of people blockaded R102 in Gandhi’s Hill complaining about lack of water in the oThongathi area. No case or injuries were reported. The road had been reopened.
Also on Monday at 2am approximately 150 Zavutha community members embarked in a protest complaining about service delivery in the Isithebe and Mandini area.
“The situation is under control and POP and Mandini members are monitoring the situation. No incidents reported and no injuries,” Zwane said.