PICS: 54 arrested in #MooiRiver truck protest
Durban- Police are monitoring the N3 in the vicinity of the Mooi River Toll Plaza to prevent looting of the trucks that had been torched overnight.
Twenty-three trucks were set alight. Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, KwaZulu Natal police spokesperson, said the incident began on Sunday night when a group of people began throwing objects on the N3 freeway and set some trucks alight.
"A total of 35 trucks were damaged including those that were set alight. It is believed that the people who were protesting and throwing stones, as well as burning objects, had caused extensive damages to property. A total of 54 people were arrested and will face charges of public violence,"Mbhele said.
Local police and neighbouring police stations were mobilised and dispersed a number of people who were looting the burning trucks early this morning. Mbhele said the arrested suspects will appear at the Mooi River Magistrates Court on Monday.
"The situation is calm today although the road is still blocked due to the trucks that were burnt. Police are still monitoring the situation and are on high alert. Traffic is being diverted onto alternative routes for now," she said.
A cleanup operation was underway to clear the road of the burnt out shells of 23 trucks that were set alight on the N3 near Mooi River this morning.
Mxolisi Kaunda, KwaZulu Natal Department of Transport(DOT) MEC, was expected to visit Mooi River to conduct an assessment of the scene and speak to law enforcement agencies.
Anita Heyl, the N3 Toll concession spokesperson, said currently the road is closed at Mooi River. The northbound traffic is diverted to the R103 to Estcourt. The vehicles travelling on the southbound lane is being diverted to Estcourt R74 to Greytown.
The KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner Major General Bheki Langa has strongly condemned the unlawful protest action along N3 freeway near the Mooi River Toll Plaza last night.
“This is totally unacceptable and we will not condone people venting their anger by damaging private and public property or blockading our national roads. We will intensify our operations and ensure that those responsible face the full might of the law. Any person who blocks our national roads will be treated as an ordinary criminal and will face the full might of the law. There are many avenues for people to voice their grievances and resorting to criminality is definitely not one of them,” he said.