KZN protests

Photo: Twitter/ECR_Newswatch

KZN protests turn ugly with vehicles torched, liquor store looted

The protesting residents blocked roads and set vehicles alight. Electricity disconnection is understood to be at the heart of grievances.

KZN protests

Photo: Twitter/ECR_Newswatch

Several vehicles have been torched and roads have been blocked by protesting KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) residents on Monday 12 October, who have reacted violently to failures to improve service delivery and infrastructure maintenance. 

A liquor store was also looted in the early morning protests on the M19, near Varsity Drive in Reservoir Hills, where municipality officials last week disconnected electricity after discovering illegal connections. Police are understood to have deployed rubber bullets in an effort to disperse the increasingly violent crowd. 

Protests result in road closures 

The busy route between Umgeni Road and Westville, with a municipal bus and several vehicles set alight by protestors. 

Durban metro police spokesperson Parbhoo Sewpersad sid that 600 protesters had gathered and voiced their grievances over service delivery issues. 

“Late last week the municipality went into this area near Varsity Drive and disconnected the illegal electricity connections,” he said. “The residents are demanding that the electricity be reinstalled.”

He said that “Five private motor vehicles were also stoned”, and that “protestors then went into a bottle store and stole about three quarters of the alcohol stock.”

City spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela said that the decision to cut power to the area due to the illegal connections is the result of continuous failure to adhere to the law. 

“Every year we are bleeding millions of rands as a result of illegal connections, so it is, therefore, our responsibility to clampdown on the illicit behaviour because it overburdens the grid  which happens to result to some of our transformers exploding.” 

CPF chair’s car torched  

Community Police Forum (CPF) spokesperson Ish Prahladh told East Coast Radio that their chairman’s vehicle was among those torched. 

“Our CPF Chair Pravin’s car was set alight, and fortunately we managed to move all other cars out of the way because what we were doing is, we were blocking so the residents don’t get into the crossfire but as we were standing, we had to move back because they were advancing towards us.”

At time of writing, the protests appear to have simmered down, and most of the group have dispersed. The South African has reached out to the South African Police Service (SAPS) and will update this story when comment lands.