R102 a no-go area due to service delivery protest

13 March 2018 - 13:19 By Jeff Wicks
A police Nyala pushes skips off Link road near R102 and N2 north. Protesters have not had electricity for 4 days.
A police Nyala pushes skips off Link road near R102 and N2 north. Protesters have not had electricity for 4 days.
Image: Jackie Clausen via Twitter

The R102 between Groutville and Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal was reduced to a no-go zone as a service delivery protest spiralled out of control on Tuesday.

The wave of civil disobedience‚ thought to be borne out of the fact that a string of townships were not supplied with electricity for several days‚ is understood to have boiled over from Sunday.

On Monday night two people were shot and wounded by a motorist who let off a salvo of shots into a crowd of people who had surrounded his vehicle as he travelled on the barricaded R102.

Police and security personnel worked through the night‚ and were engaged in running battles with demonstrators who repeatedly blocked the R102‚ the N2 and Link road.

Gangs of men formed blockades along the R102‚ demanding a “toll” from passing motorists lest their cars be stoned.

At one such blockade‚ a group of men who had dragged what remained of an armco barrier across the roadway‚ demanded money while brandishing petrol bombs and bricks.

Minibus taxis with heavily armed security escorts were exempt from the toll.

At midday‚ public order policing units from Mariannhill‚ Empangeni and Durban had been deployed to the area and were dispersing crowds and “toll collectors” using rubber bullets and teargas.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said that police were monitoring the tense situation and that additional units had been brought into the area following the shooting incident.

She said that police were investigating two cases of attempted murder and that no arrests had yet been made.

In another incident‚ a house which doubled as a tuck-shop was burnt overnight in the Sofia section of Ndabaningi township on Monday night.

When TimesLIVE arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning‚ a group of men had set about stripping several burnt-out cars for any body parts which they were able to salvage.

It is unknown whether the men had any claim to the damaged cars.

IPSS medical rescue spokesman Paul Herbst said that their officials had been on standby to augment the police effort.