Community members travelling on the N2 between Piet Retief and Ermelo on Monday, 16 October, were warned of violent protests at Sheepmoor, which led to the N2 being closed off for most of Monday.
The Excelsior News spoke to Captain Khumalo, from Sheepmoor, whilst he was on the scene at around 12:00 on Monday, when he confirmed that the community members blocked off the N2 as they were demanding service delivery. The protestors requested to speak to the Msukaligwa (Ermelo) Municipality’s mayor. At the time of speaking to Captain Khumalo, he confirmed that he was informed that the Mayor was at the scene, but was awaiting feedback.
The community were asked to take a detour if they were travelling on the N2 between Ermelo and Piet Retief as the protestors were throwing stones and became violent. At around 13:30, the community were informed that the N2 was opened by the SAPS and that traffic was moving slowly. The protestors were still present at the scene and awaited a confirmation letter from the Mayor. According to Captain Khumalo, they had a chance to share their grievances with the Mayor and requested better service delivery in their community.
The protestors stated that they would wait at the scene until they received feedback from the Mayor. On Tuesday, 17 October, the Excelsior News spoke to Captain Khumalo again and the riots were continuing. They closed the N2 again as protestors became violent. On Tuesday afternoon, the road was opened again and some of the protestors were arrested.
According to a local councillor, the mayor of Ermelo has recently resigned, so it is unclear as to how Protestors closed the N2 on Monday, 16 October, due to a riot for better service delivery The SAPS had their hands full with protestors long the protest will continue.
On SABC News, Tuesday evening, reports were given about the extensive damage done due to the riots. One farmer confirmed a loss of R1.2 million whilst the total damage for Monday/Tuesday excalated to about R10 million. Community members are frustrated by the Msukaligwa Municipaltiy for not delivering services, mainly water. Captain Khumalo confirmed that information regarding the outcome of this protest will be provided but at time of going to print no information was received.
The Excelsior News will keep our readers updated on our Facebook page. Community members travelling on the N2 need to be cautious as tempers may flare up at any given time. Updates will be provided as soon as they are received from the Sheepmoor SAPS.