The stretch of N2 highway, between Izingolweni and Port Shepstone on the South Coast, has been marred by vicious protest action and violence this week.
Despite the arrest of 47 protesters on Thursday – seven of which are juveniles – disgruntled community members vowed to continue their demonstrations next week.
According to eyewitness reports, the section of highway leading towards Izingolweni has been closed due to taxi violence and not because of the South Coast protest over road conditions.
A week of South Coast protests disrupt N2 highway
KZN – N2 Route (Update): ROAD CLOSED at Izingolweni (Taxi Violence): ROAD OPEN between Port Shepstone and Murchison (#ProtestAction suspended until Tuesday)
— Rob Beezy (@TrafficSA) May 24, 2019
Earlier in the week, major disruptions befell motorists in the vicinity of Bhobhoyi and Murchison. Port Shepstone police responded to the protests and diverted traffic away from the N2. Regional police spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane, reported that law enforcement officials came under fierce attack.
One police officer was badly injured when struck with a
stone flung by protesters. The officer was rushed to hospital with a serious
This attack on police officers ramped up the seriousness of
law enforcement’s involvement and, ostensibly, led to the massive arrest
Department of Transport fails to convince protesters
South Africans strike different. 💀 People of Izingolweni got N2 on lock since Monday.
All they want is service delivery & some Heineken while they wait. pic.twitter.com/2dtp3wYyTr
— Sphelele Zondo (@SpeshZondo) May 22, 2019
As reported by the South Coast Herald, residents west of Port Shepstone are deeply unhappy about the state of rural roads. This dissatisfaction has boiled over and resulted in the prolonged protest action. In an attempt to quell the dissidence, Sbusiso Gumbi, of the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department, addressed the crowd on Wednesday.
This did little to diffuse tensions.
Simon April, spokesman for Ray Nkonyeni Municipality,
explained that the situation, while still tense, was being closely monitored.
April also urged motorists travelling in the area to exercise extreme caution,
“We plead with road users and the general public to be patient, cautious and cooperative as the situation remains tense.”
Meanwhile, those arrested would appear before the Port
Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Friday. Community members are calling for their
release – a plea opposed by the state. The juveniles, however, are likely to be
released into the care of their parents.