Blockading roads during protests is a criminal act

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has called on protest organisers to make use of government channels to air their grievances and desist from damaging property.

"I want to reiterate the government call that any legitimate concern that communities have should be raised in a non-violent manner and in line with the laws of our country. 

“Any criminal acts in the form of violence, destruction of state and private property, looting and the blockading of roads under the pretext of service delivery protests will not be tolerated," said Minister Nzimande.

His call comes amid various protests across the country that left several roads blockaded and public and private property torched.

On Wednesday, protestors blocked the N3 Toll Route in both directions at Van Reenens Pass between Harrismith and the Tugela Toll Plaza / Ladysmith, KwaZulu-Natal.

Law enforcement and emergency services have been deployed to the area, but there is no indication when the road will be re-opened.

While motorists have been advised to avoid traveling to this area those who could not avoid doing so were advised to consider alternatives routes such as the R74-via Oliviershoek Pass; the R34/N11- Vrede/New Castle/Ladysmith or the R23-via Heidelberg/Standerton/Volksrust/Ladysmith.

Other incidents reported include the torching and looting of two cargo trucks and the blockading of the N2 between Mtubatuba and Hluhluwe in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.

The road by Springfield Park in Durban was also blockaded using earthmovers by Ethekwini Municipal Workers.

Meanwhile, in Johannesburg protestors burnt tyres and restricted travel between London Road and Marlboro, creating heavy backlogs from the Gilloolys Interchange. In a separate incident at the R59 near Meyerton protestors closed roads protesting over housing.

"Any person who blocks roads conducts a criminal act and will be charged and prosecuted," said Minister Nzimande.

He said these are typical acts of sabotage, disdain and criminality and remain condemned.

"I remain grateful to the law enforcement agencies and emergency services for their swift response in restoring peace and stability in all the areas affected by these protests," said Minister Nzimande. –