PICS: Trucks torched, roads blocked as protestors shutdown Ladysmith

By Claudine Senekal Time of article published Mar 10, 2020

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Durban - Five trucks were torched on Monday night and most roads leading into Ladysmith in northern Kwazulu-Natal were blocked by angry protestors who ramped up their demands for Mayor Vincent Madlala to vacate his office.

The Ladysmith city centre was a ghost town on Tuesday morning as taxi operators and other community protestors blocked roads leading into the CBD. The main police station was not staffed as several police officers could not reach the station for their shift.

"No members or workers are at work. It's bad literally for our community service members," a resident, who had gone into the station on Tuesday morning, to get copies certified told the  Ladysmith Herald.

The resident who did not want to be named said:  "What happens if we need the police, what then, this is so scary." 

All schools in the area were also closed on Tuesday and most businesses were expected not to open.

Five trucks were torched on Monday night and most roads leading into Ladysmith in northern Kwazulu-Natal were blocked by angry protestors. Picture: Claudine Senekal / Ladysmith Herald.

On Monday night, protestors torched five trucks on the road between Colenso and Pieters - which is used by truckers as a short cut to Ladysmith - and looted of its goods.

No injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, protestors on Tuesday blocked several roads including:

- R103 to Harrismith HARRISMITH

- R103 to Colenso

- Protea Drive, Acciavale

- Multiple Roads leaving Ezakheni

- Pieters Road at Ezakheni

- Umbulwane

- Burford

- St Chads by Linda's Tavern

- Peacetwon and 

- Hopslands

At the centre of the protests is the residents’ demands that Madlala the mayor of Alfred Duma Local Municipality step down.

Five trucks were torched on Monday night and most roads leading into Ladysmith in northern Kwazulu-Natal were blocked by angry protestors. Picture: Supplied.

All schools in the area were shut due to violent protests, with some businesses closing their doors.

The protesters vowed that all roads leading to the N3 and surrounding areas like Newcastle, Estcourt, Colenso and Bergville would be blocked.

Andile Hlatshwayo, Ubumbano Lokuthula’s leader, said the provincial government had failed to hear the cry of the community.

The KZN Premier tasked the MEC for Community Safety, Bheki Ntuli, with bringing stability to the area.

The premier was expected to  lead a high-level team as part of government’s intervention to resolve the on-going instability on Tuesday

The delegation will include MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Mr Bheki Ntuli, and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ms Nomusa Dube-Ncube, local leadership and senior government officials.

As part of the interventions, the premier will engage various stakeholders in Ladysmith, including business, security cluster and protesters.

"The situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated hence we are coming closer as government to engage with all affected stakeholders," said Zikalala.

"The current protest is affecting business and the economy of all small-town relying on Ladysmith as an important corridor. Our interest is to ensure that there is stability in the province, and we cannot allow Ladysmith to regress on the work done. Once again, we appeal for calm and to all protesters to engage peacefully,” he said.

Five trucks were torched on Monday night and most roads leading into Ladysmith in northern Kwazulu-Natal were blocked by angry protestors. Picture: Supplied.

Alf Lees a DA member of parliament and a resident of Ladysmith said they had noted with horror  the ongoing intimidation of the residents of Ladysmith and the surrounding areas by thugs who blockade roads, burn tyres, damage property, extort “tolls” from motorists and bring the economy of Alfred Duna Municipality to a grinding halt.

He said Alfred Duma Municipality is one of the ANC appallingly administered municipalities that are destroying the economies of rural South Africa. 

"In the past week, the thugs appear to have had the upper hand with the SAPS being caught on the back foot. There seems to have been a complete breakdown of the SAPS Intelligence who seem not to have been able to foresee the thuggery and violence despite the thugs spending the prior two weeks moving around Ladysmith trying to intimidate businesses and workers. The DA calls on the SAPS to ensure that any criminal action on the part of any thugs or organisations are identified in advance and are dealt with the maximum force of the law," he said.

Daily News

 

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