On Wednesday, 14 September, at about 07:30, phones were buzzing with warnings not to use the N2 towards Ermelo, due to a major “roadblock”.
Protesters decided to take matters into their own hands by stacking tyres across the N2, at Newington and setting them on fire. Drivers were sitting in a hairraising situation and were unable to pass and had to sit and wait for assistance. Social media was already buzzing with warnings and photos, but there was no sign of the police or traffic department at the time. When Excelsior News at 07:50, contacted Mr M. Msibi (Head of the Traffic Department), he had no knowledge of the raging havoc.
We then contacted Capt. Lushaba at the police department, who also had no knowledge of the happenings. According to people stuck in the jam, the police then pitched up and started firing rubber bullets at the protesters. The protesters then retreated, only to retaliate by throwing stones at the police members.
Fortunately, nobody sustained any major injuries during the encounter. After the protesters then dispersed, the Mkhondo Emergency Services attended the scene to put out the fire and remove the rubble from the road. Thanks to the Emergency Services, SAPS and all other services involved, for resolving the issue and clearing the road to make it safe to use once more. According to Mr John Hoatson (Managing Director of Newington), an illegal union strike started on Friday, due to union negotiations which were accepted an signed months ago.
A court order was then obtained on Friday afternoon, forcing these members to return to work on Monday. These members then failed to obey the court order and were dismissed on Tuesday afternoon, for being in contempt of the court order. The dismissal of these members then led to them creating havoc on the business premises and then being removed by the police on Tuesday, 13 September.
Then on Wednesday morning they blocked the N2 causing havoc and inconveniencing the community. However, incidents like these are uncalled for! People who have grievances, should not be endangering the lives of other people who are not the cause of the problem and also not the solution. Why can’t people resolve their issues in a decent manner without creating havoc?