Durban - Motorist travelling to Durban on the N3 on Friday were forced to sit in traffic as protestors - led by Cosatu - blockaded the freeway and demanded an end to escalating fuel prices.
Earlier police had used stun grenades to in an attempt disperse protesters blocking the N3 Toll Plaza leaving Durban. The crowd however resisted and continued with their protest.
Branch members from throughout KwaZulu-Natal of the Congress of South African Trade Unions(Cosatu) have converged on the Toll Plaza to highlight the ripple effect fuel price increases are having on citizens.
Cosatu branch members travelling from Pietermaritzburg had driven slowly on the Durban bound route creating traffic backlogs.
The Cosatu affiliates driving their own cars then came to a compelte halt to close off the Durban bound lanes after the Shongweni offramp and then the Toll Plaza.
This after protestors blocked the four lanes of the road leaving Durban. Police had issued several warnings to the protestors to stop blocking the road before atleast two or three stun grenades went off sending the crowd into a frenzy. Moments before that the protestors stood at the Toll booths singing and chanting.
Cosatu believes that the petrol price increases are above the inflation tax hikes which the working class are battling to cope with
A large contingent of police from the Public Order Unit were monitoring the protest.
This campaign has received wide support of the public by many social movements including People Against Petrol and Parafin Price Increases (Papppi).
Visvin Reddy, the convenor of Papppi, arrived at the Toll Plaza said they planned to shut down the freeway leaving Durban.
Edwin Mkhize, Cosatu KZN Provincial Secretary, said the most daunting facts about the current increase in Fuel and VAT are that, when comes to expenses and cost of living the poor and the rich are expected to share equitably.
He said the unions was strongly opposed to government’s VAT and fuel hikes.
“There is also rising food, transport, water and electricity inflation. We reject the VAT and fuel hikes as nothing less than dumping the bill for the looting of billions of Rands of workers’ taxes by some public servants officials, politicians and private sector officials,” Mkhize said.