DURBAN - RAGING with fury over their illegal electricity connections cut, Blackburn informal settlement dwellers blocked off the N3 highway and burnt tyres on Friday night.
Durban motorists had to drive around flaming tyres on the N2 on their way past Umhlanga towards Sibaya Casino and the King Shaka International Airport.
Several motorists recorded the residents fanning the flames of the tyres in the middle of the freeway, as well as others who were throwing stones and other objects at passing cars.'
Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parbhoo Sewpersad confirmed the protests were over power.
“The residents had so many illegal connections that the electricity tripped. As a result there was no power in the informal settlement. Residents were angry and started protesting by setting fire to tyres and other objects, affecting traffic,” said Parbhoo.
Drivers had to navigate their way past the burning objects on the road, driving on the grassy patch on the side of the road, while others sped up to avoid objects being thrown at their vehicles.
Parbhoo said the crowd had been dispersed, however, the crowd gathered again late on Friday night.
Ward councillor Heinz de Boer said he believed the nature of the protest had changed into a political one, and called on police to take “any necessary action” against possible acts of chaos and anarchy.
“Initial reports were that the residents were protesting about electricity. The city’s revenue protection department was at the settlement earlier in the day and removed illegal connections, and in fact, proper connections were connected, so they have power. This evening I hear they have gathered again and I am led to believe there are elements out to destabilise the ward. I believe several arrests have been made,” said de Boer.
LISTEN: Ward Councillor Heinz De Boer explains the situation at Blackburn informal settlement