The N4 highway between the Balmoral interchange and where the main highway splits into the N4 and N12 at eMalahleni (Witbank) in Mpumalanga was still closed to motorists by Thursday afternoon due to violent protests.
The protests began on Tuesday evening, with residents dissatisfied with the eMalahleni municipality’s poor service delivery.
According to a statement from the municipality, residents of the KwaGuqa settlement and surrounding areas have been without power for a week. They demand with the protests that power supply be restored.
Solange Soares-Nicholson, spokesperson for Trac, which operates the N4 toll road, says both directions of the highway are currently closed to traffic. Police and traffic officers were deployed to the scene.
All roads to and from Vosman are also closed to traffic, as well as the Old Ogies Road and Clarinet Street to eMalahleni.
“The law enforcers are trying to contain demonstrations and guide motorists to alternative routes,” says Soares-Nicholson.
Motorists are encouraged to avoid the affected roads and use alternative routes.
Protesters block the road with burning car tires and other objects such as stones, says Soares-Nicholson.
Signboards were ripped from the ground and destroyed.
There are also reports of trucks being looted and set on fire, while passing vehicles and pedestrians are pelted with stones.
The situation got out of hand on Thursday morning when the executive mayor of the eMalahleni municipality, Connie Nkalitshana, was booed and chased away by angry protesters.
She tried to address the crowd near the KG Mall about the power problems that gave rise to the protests.
Trac recommends the following alternative routes for motorists in the area:
Westward (in the direction of Pretoria):
- After the Middelburg toll gate, take the N12 motorway where the N4 and N12 divide. From there take the Delmas exit to Bronkhorstspruit (R42), from where the N4 can be reached again.
Eastward (to Maputo)
- Take the Bronkhorstspruit interchange (R42) in the direction of Delmas, then join the N12 which joins the N4 just before the Middelburg toll gate.
“Trac respects the right to peaceful demonstrations, as set out in the Constitution. However, we condemn demonstrations that pose a safety and security threat to road users and cause damage to property,” says Soares-Nicholson.
Road users who require information are requested to follow @TRACN4Route on Twitter or call Trac’s 24-hour emergency number on 0800 87 22 64 or 082 881 4444.
Rhewal has also made inquiries to the spokesperson of the eMalahleni municipality and is awaiting a response.
While the Mayor is busy being stupid rather than give answers, it’ll be shut down. #CoalCityTrendz #CoalTwitter pic.twitter.com/kkI12o6H2y
— White sofa ???????? eMalahleni (@CoalCityTrendz) May 10, 2023
Scenes as the protest continues.#EnoughIsEnough#CoalCityTrendz #CoalTwitter pic.twitter.com/gRKRVNUgdk
— White sofa ???????? eMalahleni (@CoalCityTrendz) May 11, 2023
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