18 arrested after violent protests in Tugela Ferry

One of the trashed shops in Tugela Ferry

Police have arrested 18 people for public violence and malicious damage to property following an outbreak of protests in Tugela Ferry that saw shops looted and vehicles stoned.
Stones and burning tyres blocked all roads in and out the town. Five police vehicles were also damaged when strikers hurled rocks at them.
The IFP has blamed the ANC for the outbreak of violence, which was caused by angry residents complaining about the lack of water services in the Msinga area.
“The ANC made sure the Nquthu Council was never constituted which in turn ensured that the Umzinyathi District Council – whose competency is water services in this district – has not been properly constituted since August last year which has damaged service delivery,” said the IFP’s Blessed Gwala.

Police condemn violence

The KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Commissioner, Major General Bheki Langa condemned the illegal violent protests at Msinga area yesterday. “Although citizens have a right to protest in a peaceful manner, it is totally unacceptable for a community to embark on such violent protests where property is damaged and lives are endangered. Police who were on the scene to maintain law and order were also attacked also indicating that they have no respect for the rule of law. We appeal to citizens to involve their community leaders to resolve their concerns in a peaceful manner. The SAPS has an obligation in terms of the constitution to take action and arrest those that break the law during protest actions,” he said.
All 18 suspects will appear in the Msinga Magistrates Court later today. The situation is still tense in the area with some of the roads still being blocked with stones and burning tyres. Police are in the area to monitor the situation and ensure the safety of all citizens. Motorists have been advised to avoid the area.

Terry Worley

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