Infuriated residents close road

Rural residents block road; demand payment to pass. On Monday, 2 September, members of the Mkhondo SAPS were called out when angry residents of the Mkhondo area closed the Houdkop road, leading to the Emahlathini Border post.

The road was made almost inaccessible with burning tyres, logs and big stones in six different places. The protestors demanded R100-00 from motorists to pass through and if they failed to comply with the request, they were threatened.

By closing the road, they made it impossible for scholars to get to their different schools and for residents of Eswatini and farmers from the surrounding areas to get to Piet Retief.

The SAPS members cleared the road and whilst they were tending to the burning tyres, the protestors closed another part of the road again.

Officers took control of the situation and arrested 11 people, who were charged with public violence. Regarding the South African Regulation of Gathering Act 205 of 1993, this gathering was illegal.

When the protestors were arrested, motorists helped police officers to clear the road of all remaining rubble and to extinguish the burning tyres.

The condition of the Houdkop road has long been a concern for residents that have to use it on a daily basis, if something is not done about its horrid state, we could be looking at many more protests in the future.