Gunshots and explosions ring out in KZN as violent protests continue
As gunshots and explosions rang out when looting and mayhem continued in many parts KwaZulu-Natal on Monday morning, major routes were closed to traffic, Durban's public transport system was not operating and even funerals had been put on hold.
Protesters continued to loot shopping centres on Monday morning. Some were seen walking off with appliances, including TVs and washing machines, and trolleys filled to the brim.
Reports from Pietermaritzburg indicated that Brookside Mall was on fire.
Police and private security companies battled to disperse protesters from Friday when the protest action, themed #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown on social media, saw violence erupting across the province. It has since spread to Gauteng.
On Sunday night, as shops were looted in the Durban city centre, Tongaat, Verulam, Amanzimtoti, Springfield and Overport, the eThekwini Municipality announced that its bus service would not be in operation on Monday.
“This is as a result of the current civil unrest. In addition to the bus service, residents can expect other service delivery interruptions over the next few days. While the municipality remains committed to minimising the interruptions, the safety of employees and municipal assets remains paramount,” it said.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) in KZN said taxis would not be operating.
“This in protection of the same taxis that may be damaged.”
The entire N3 Toll Route, in both directions, from Harrismith in the Free State to Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal, was closed to traffic as “a result of the current spate of uncontrollable violent attacks on road users, trucks, security and emergency services and businesses”.
“The Mooi River South (Wimpy) Ramp plaza near Mooi River as well as the Mooi River Enforcement Park Home facility were set alight. Truck fires have also been reported in the vicinity of the Mooi and Tugela plazas, and more threats are being received in this region. In the light of this, and in the interests of safety and security Mooi and Tugela toll plazas have also been closed,” the concession said.
It advised all vehicles to immediately return to the nearest place of safety and remain there until further notice.
“N3TC strongly recommends that road users avoid these volatile areas.”
Clare Estate Umgeni Hindu Crematorium Society, which operates the busiest crematorium in Durban, said no funerals would be conducted on Monday due to the protests and violence.