Two die during violent protest

Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

Two die during violent protests in Eastern Cape town

Situation reported to be tense in Middelburg, near Graaf-Reinet. Protestors have been barricading roads since early in the week.

Two die during violent protest

Image by Orna Wachman from Pixabay

Violent protests in the Eastern Cape town of Middelburg, about 108km from Graaf-Reinet, have resulted in the death of two people.

Both people died as a result of being hit by a truck while protestors were apparently barricading roads in and around the town.

One person, aged 20, died on the spot after being hit by the vehicle on Friday morning, while the second person, aged 38, died of his injuries in hospital on Friday afternoon.

Public Order units are deployed

According to a report by Port Elizabeth-based radio station, Algoa FM, the truck driver did stop at the scene and was interviewed by police.

A police spokesperson, Colonel Sibongile Soci, said Public Order units have been deployed to the town and the situation remains tense.

Motorists have been advised to make use of alternative routes, where possible, when travelling to Colesberg, Steynsburg, Graaff-Reinet and Cradock.

Blocking roads since Wednesday

Algoa FM said protesters in the town have been blocking the N10, N9 and R56 since Wednesday. It added that it was not clear what the protest is about.

However, the Daily Dispatch newspaper reports that on Tuesday the Rise Middelburg Youth Movement held a protest in the town, demanding answers from the municipality and construction contractors why young people were being overlooked for jobs.

“We are marching against our municipality because we feel they don’t give us, the youth, anything; no jobs. If you are not an ANC member, you will not get a job,” community activist Zintle Gamana told the publication.

Most youth are unemployed

“Most of our youth are unemployed. There are two new construction sites, but nobody knows how the recruitment processes took place.”

The Dispatch said protesters took away tools from roadside construction workers in town, stormed the municipal offices and toyi-toyied at a reception hall.

They then marched out of town to insist that workers down tools at the new water works construction site.