- The South African Police Services (SAPS) confirmed that 54 people have been arrested in connection with the burning of 18 trucks on the N3 near Mooi River Toll Plaza
- In total 35 trucks were damaged by protestors
- The busy N3 highway was closed for traffic from around 6 pm on Sunday evening
18 trucks were set alight and another 17 were damaged by angry protesters on the N3 highway near the Mooi River Toll Plaza on Sunday evening. South African Police Services (SAPS) officials have confirmed that 54 people were arrested in connection with the violent protests.
The busy N3 highway between Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg was closed to traffic shortly after 6 pm on Sunday evening when protestors started going from truck to truck to set them on fire.
The N3 looked more like a war zone as protestors threw rocks and other debris at trucks before setting these trucks on fire and looting their contents.
Briefly.co.za discovered that those arrested will appear in the Mooi River Magistrate’s Court later on Monday.
Former Hawks spokesperson, McIntosh Polela, said he was stuck in the traffic jam for two hours while the angry protesters ran from truck to truck to torch them. “The air was so toxic, eyes burning, it was hard to breathe,” he said.
Police officials have not yet confirmed what the protesters wanted, but it is thought to be related to the previous attacks on truck drivers earlier this month.
In those attacks, protesters were unhappy that foreign nationals were being employed as truck drivers. Unconfirmed reports indicate that South African truck drivers are planning a total shutdown of the busy Durban to Johannesburg route.
At the time of publishing the affected stretch of the N3 remains closed to traffic due to obstructions caused by damaged, burned out trucks and other debris on the road. Traffic is being diverted to alternate routes.
The government has condemned the violent protests and released a statement saying: “Whilst all South Africans have the constitutional right to protest, government reiterates its condemnation against any form of violence and intimidation. #MooiRiver.”
We have gathered some reactions from across Twitter to the violent protests.
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