KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Neliswa Peggy Nkonyeni and MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Ravi Pillay have visited Mooi River to assess the situation following the recent violent protests.
At least 28 trucks were torched in Mooi River Toll Plaza while six shops were looted in the town.
Part of the monitoring included assessing the extent of damage to property and assessing police visibility in the area which was among the worst affected.
A total of 37 trucks have been torched in various parts of the province at the weekend – 28 were torched in Mooi River, six on the N2 in Zululand, one in Umgababa, one in Lidgetton and one on the R603.
Conservative estimates are that the damage to private and public property is at approximately R100 million, however, the information is still being collated.
With KwaZulu-Natal having two strategic ports, the disruption is likely to have a negative economic impact on other parts of the country.
“We commend law enforcement agencies for the work done so far. No less than 37 people have been arrested in the province for activities related to the protests.
“Charges against these individuals ranged from malicious damage to property, public violence, business burglary to the contravention of the Disaster Management Act Regulations,” the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government said in a statement.
A multi-pronged response plan has been developed and is being implemented by law enforcement agencies. The plan includes maintaining high police visibility in areas identified as hotspots; engaging with affected stakeholders, including business and transport stakeholders and intensive stakeholder engagement to stabilise the situation on the ground.
The plan will be constantly reviewed to ascertain whether there will be any need for additional reinforcements.
“We have noted various social media posts and messages indicating an intention by some to intensify these illegal protests from this evening leading to tomorrow.
“We want to assure the citizens of the province that the police are closely monitoring the situation and will not hesitate to act against anyone found to be breaking the law. We call on all the people of KwaZulu-Natal to work with law enforcement agencies and volunteer information that might lead to further these activities being averted.”
The province has engaged with the National JCPS cluster to receive additional support and resources where necessary.
The Provincial Executive Council has called on members of the public to desist from taking part in any of the protests as they are illegal and urges them to respect the rule of law.
“Furthermore, we appeal to people to stop inciting violence through platforms such as social media, this is a criminal offence and will be punishable,” the statement further said.