Some of the trucks that were torched Sunday night on the N-3 at Mooi River Plaza in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) are still on fire.
Protests turned violent Sunday night and forced the total shutdown of the freeway.
The road is still closed at Mooi River toll plaza on both south and north bound lanes, with traffic currently being diverted at Mooi River going north and at Estcourt going south.
Emergency services are still on the scene with firefighters battling to extinguish the fires. Cleaning up operations are underway with various tow trucks are taking away what remains of the twenty trucks that were burnt.
Over 50 people arrested
Meanwhile, police in KZN have arrested over fifty people in connection with the Mooi River protest on Sunday night. Police say various units remain deployed in the area. Provincial police spokesperson Thembeka Mbhele says the group arrested will be appearing in a local magistrate court on Monday.
“54 people have been taken in for questioning as they have been arrested on public violence charges. They were throwing tyres, stones and even sharp objects on the trucks that were driving on the N-3. About 23 trucks are affected. The situation has calmed down and the police from the local area who were called out and dispersed the people,” says Mbhele.
The KZN Transport Department says Sunday night’s protest on the N-3 is due to truck drivers’ grievances over the employment of foreign nationals. KZN Transport Department spokesperson Kwanele Ncalane says MEC Mxolisi Kaunda is at the scene.
“It is quite unfortunate that 23 trucks were torched last night and 18 were looted. But police managed to arrest more than 50 people. Some were arrested for looting but some are truck drivers who have been taken for questioning. The truck drivers are the ones who are behind this. It’s not a public protest. The drivers are against the employment of foreign nationals.”
Ncalane says the department has been consulting with truck drivers on the matter of employment for locals.
“After the incident which happened over the Easter weekend, we have taken the matter up and met with the concerned group of drivers and the provincial government. We have escalated matters at the department to try and find a solution to this impasse. It is unfortunate that this has happened again in such a small space of time and the MEC has engaged the police expressing his concern that we had to deal with this matter.”[Source: SABC]