At least nineteen trucks and several SUVs have been burnt on the N3 near Mooi River around the toll plaza in the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Midlands.
Demonstrations in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) continued into Friday night as ‘Zuma protestors’ blocked national roads, highways, and burnt trucks in N3 near the Mooi toll plaza. The protests are allegedly over the detention of former president Jacob Zuma. Zuma’s daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, took to social media yesterday, stating that the protesters were supporters of her father.
Zinhle Mngomezulu from Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) confirmed that 19 trucks were torched overnight including a truck transiting with cars in Mooi River near the toll plaza.
Operations Manager at the N3 Toll Concession, Thania Dhoogra confirmed reports that trucks were burnt on the northbound section.
From as early as Friday morning, the N2, N3 and M7 which is a strategic cargo transit from the Port of Durban towards the inland, including provincial and municipal links among many other major roads were shut down, causing traffic congestion.
“We are trying to remove these burning trucks so that we can open R103 for cars going to Durban. We are also turning away some of the cars because it is not safe and some of the roads are being opened for trucks only. There is a truck burning as well in N2 in Umgababa, we are also trying to remove it so that the road can be opened,” said Mngomezulu.
Mngomezulu urged intending commuters to avoid the roads until charred debris of trucks and other automobiles are cleared, and normalcy is restored.
Jacob Zuma who is currently in the Estcourt Correctional Centre was handed 15 months in prison by the Constitutional Court, having been found guilty of contempt of court.
KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala called for calm and strict observance of the rule of law.
“It is reported and believed that the protests are about the incarceration of comrade Jacob Zuma. We understand the extreme anger of the people who are protesting. As a country and as a province we find ourselves in a very unusual and unique situation wherein we are dealing with the arrest of the former president of the ANC and the country,” said Zikalala.
Zikalala called on protesters to do so through peaceful means and avoid violence and destruction of properties.
Zikalala added: “We are fully conscious of the anger of the community but unfortunately, violence and destruction often affects and attacks people who are not involved”
Police had initially denied that the destruction of trucks and the demonstrations were related to Jacob Zuma’s incarceration, instead, they insisted they were protests about “service delivery.”