POLICE in KwaZulu-Natal say that the N3 near the Mooi River Toll Plaza will remain closed indefinitely following protests on the route which saw the torching of a number of trucks which has led to the arrest of 27 suspects.
KZN Police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said that there were more efforts afoot from police to track and trace more suspects, while they have intensified deployment and heightened visibility in response to the protests.
The protest action, which has been themed on social media as the #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown protests in Mooi River erupted overnight, while there were other similar protests in some parts of the province, including Mtubatuba, Empangeni, Stanger, Mandeni, parts of Durban and in Umgababa in the south of Durban since Friday.
On Saturday afternoon, cleaning operations were still underway on the N3 a few metres away from the Mooi River Toll Plaza where an unconfirmed number of trucks were torched.
The burnt shells of trucks that were torched in the protests were strewn across a field between the N3 and the Mooi River Truck Stop on the R103, while towing trucks were kept busy removing burnt trucks from the highway in an attempt to clear the road.
Naicker said that police in other provinces were also on high alert, keeping a close eye amid continued threats of widespread violence.
Naicker condemned the acts of lawlessness, saying that these actions seek to undermine the authority of the state, and issued a stern warning to those behind the threats of more violence to refrain from these acts of incitement circulated on various social media platforms.
Naicker said that the 27 suspects who have been arrested since Friday were charged with a variety of charges including public violence, business burglary, malicious damage to property, and contravention of the lockdown regulations.
“This comes after an unconfirmed number of trucks were torched and several businesses looted in the Mooi River CBD. Efforts are afoot to track and trace more suspects.
“At this stage, the N3 at Mooi River remains closed as police and local authorities have joined efforts to remove the torched trucks, debris and burning tyres that were used by protesters to barricade several roads. Motorists are advised to use alternative routes or approach with caution,” Naicker said.