Protests flare up again in Matatiele

Protests have flared up again in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape where residents want gravel roads to be tarred or to be better maintained.

At least 13 people were arrested, shops were closed and commuters were left stranded on Monday as protesters blocked roads with burning tyres. Matatiele police spokesperson Raphael Motloung said police had used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

The Maluti Matatiele R56 Road Forum is demanding that the gravel road between Matatiele and the Lesotho border be tarred and that the gravel roads in their villages be properly maintained if the government fails to tar them.

Early this month community leaders suspended the protest after Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle promised to intervene.

But on Monday, forum chairperson Nhlanhla Dhlamini said Masualle and the provincial Department of Roads and Public Works had not kept their promise to fix the roads.

Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works spokesperson Mpuzi Zuzile said road works machines and three teams had been sent to Matatiele last Thursday and work on two gravel roads had started.

“We only stopped today after we heard about the protest and we also received threats that protesters are planning to burn our machines,” he said.


This story first appeared on GroundUp

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