Multiple major roads across the KwaZulu-Natal province, particularly the N2 and N3 highways, have been shut down this morning due to protests, according to various traffic reports on social media.
Businesses in the province have also been disrupted by the protest action.
Although it has not been confirmed, KZN police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said during a live broadcast on SAfm that the protests may be as a result of the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.
Mbhele said that police will monitor the situation and will try to unblock some of the carriageways.
The Ruth First Highway or M4 has been closed off as well on north- and southbound lanes between uMhlanga and Sibaya, as well as the N2/R34 four-way in Richards Bay, KZN Traffic, a local Facebook page, confirmed.
The protests have also turned violent, with participants burning tyres and stoning vehicles that try to pass. Trucks have also been used to block off roads.
Metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parbhoo Sewpersad was quoted as saying in a report in The Witness that at least five major roads have been shut down.
“Metro police officers are on the scene and are diverting drivers away from the protests,” Sewpersad said.
Parts of the Durban central business district have also been closed off due to the protests.
The M4 near Beach Bums, a popular restaurant on the North Coast, has also been closed off at Genezzano Road.
“It’s been a busy morning with protest action all over KZN. We are trying our best to keep you updated.
“Vehicles were being stoned on the N3 by the Pavilion trying to petrol-bomb a truck now. N2 southbound before M7 protesters blocking the road and lighting fires. N2 South at the Gateway on-ramp tyre treads on the fast lane,” KZN Traffic said.
Motorists were urged to find alternative routes and exercise extreme caution while using the motorways.
The former president’s daughter, Dudu Zuma-Sambudla, took to Twitter this morning to share videos of the protests in support of the release of Zuma.
— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) July 9, 2021
Businesses in the province have also been shut down from KwaDukuza to the eThekwini Municipality, according to the president of the c
“The reason for this disruptive behaviour is known and is currently circulating in the media space following the arrest of the former president.
“We are taking the necessary steps and working closely with law enforcement to arrest the matter. We encourage business owners to remain on high alert and ensure risk mitigation measures are in place,” Ward said.
Videos shared on social media on Saturday morning show protesters in support of the ‘KZN Shutdown’ taking to the streets of the East Rand in Gauteng.
A ‘Free Zuma’ address will be held at the Kwamai-Mai in Johannesburg on Sunday, 11 July at 12:00.
KZN Shutdown moves to Gauteng
The video below was reportedly taken in Alberton on the East Rand. We have reached out to confirm its authenticity.
Zuma supporters have been vocal on social media, with one netizen calling on protesters to “turn this county upside down without any alliance of political party”.
Another said “Thumaminions” will not be spared, adding on Twitter supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa “may catch flames too, let [the] fireworks begin”.
🔴 #FreeJacobZuma Protests Reach Gauteng🔴
— SA emergency reports (@MARIUSBROODRYK) July 10, 2021
KZN shutdown protests rage on
Meanwhile, chaos continues in KwaZulu-Natal and law enforcement authorities said they are prepared and on high alert.
Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said police in KwaZulu-Natal are working closely with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to address the cases of looting, arson and damage to national roads in the province.
As of Saturday morning, a total of 25 trucks had been set alight since protests began on 9 July.
Mooi Plaza protests
Roadways in Mooi Plaza are still closed, while northbound traffic is being diverted from Midmar back at Treverton and southbound traffic is being diverted from Midway to Nottingham Road.
— Bulawayo24 News (@Bulawayo24News) July 10, 2021
Before road closures were implemented, protesters were reportedly throwing stones at passing vehicles and gunshots were heard.
Alpine Road and Umgeni Road towards Connaught Bridge is currently a no-go zone, along with Galleria northbound and Prospection, both north- and southbound.
A truck is on fire in Umgababa, while trucks and debris are still blocking Eshowe roadways, and burning tyres have been placed across lanes on the N3 in the vicinity of Midmar.
Source – online