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Update: Richards Bay roads cleared, Mpumalanga fuel protest still active

The N4 at Kanyamazane is blocked off by a truck, as protests over the rising cost of fuel continue to spark across the country. Image: Supplied/Lowveld JOC.

The N4 at Kanyamazane is blocked off by a truck, as protests over the rising cost of fuel continue to spark across the country. Image: Supplied/Lowveld JOC.

Published Jul 7, 2022

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Durban: The R34 road and N2 freeway in both directions at Empangeni have been cleared after trucks were parked across the road to block traffic during a protest on Thursday morning.

Several sources in the trucking industry told IOL that the protest was staged against the rising cost of fuel and poor service.

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KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala confirmed that the roads had been cleared and that traffic was flowing again.

Trucks were parked across the road and their keys were removed, a similar modus operandi which protesters in Mpumalanga used during protests on Wednesday and Thursday.

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“This morning at 04:00, trucks were used by unknown suspects to blockade the R34 road and N2 freeway in both directions at Empangeni. The keys were removed from the trucks by unknown suspects. The road is now open and the traffic is flowing,” Gwala told IOL.

In Mpumalanga, the Hazyview area, in Mbombela, was backed up with traffic as protesters blocked the road in both directions, according to the Lowveld Security JOC.

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The N4 at Kanyamazane was also blocked by a truck, John Meintjies, a Lowveld JOC member, said.

“With situation quickly becoming unstable on multiple routes around Nelspruit Lowveld Security JOC advises that caution is taken and avoid any form of travel unless absolutely critical,” Lowveld JOC said.

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In Mbombela, roads were clear in most areas, but incidents were scattered through the town, Meintjies said.

Yesterday, Meintjies said the protest was believed to have been organised by members of the taxi association in Mpumalanga.

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“First, we received word that truck drivers were blocked by taxi drivers, who instructed them to pull off. They then instructed the driver to park on the road and removed his keys. The next phase was that they started blocking the road with taxis.

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“The protest did take a violent turn, as we heard that people were throwing stones in the CBD. Businesses in the CBD were instructed to close,” Meintjies said.

Santaco in Mpumalanga said they had no knowledge of whether their members were involved in the strike, which was held against the rising fuel costs.

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IOL

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