HECTORSPRUIT – Motorists had to use alternative routes to get past town early this morning, after protesters blocked the road for about two hours.
Vehicles, burning tyres, rocks and branches were used to block the N4 between the Jeppes Reef turn-off just before Hectorspruit and the town entrance from before 05:00 to about 07:00.
Protesters also reportedly hurled rocks at vehicles.
According to a community member of the nearby informal settlement, they are tired of waiting for services such as water and electricity to be installed and wanted to get a reaction from the municipality.
Police, TRAC and other security and emergency services responded to the scene and managed to calm protesters.
Swift EMS treated a motorist for injuries to his neck after protesters threw a rock through his vehicle’s window as he tried to pass the chaos to get to work.
By 07:00, traffic was flowing again and TRAC had finished removing the debris blocking the road.
Police remain on the scene to monitor the situation and motorists are urged to be vigilant when passing through the area.
The community had reportedly attempted to close the road on Friday, but police had managed to get the situation under control quickly.
On April 9, the same community had blocked the road with several bags of trash and branches. Protesters were also throwing rocks at vehicles.
After less than an hour, trucks had ploughed their way through the trash and police calmed the protesters.
Municipal officials met with the community the next day to listen to their grievances. Municipal spokesman, Cyril Ripinga confirmed that the municipality was in the process of addressing the shortage of water. A reservoir was slated to be built in the new financial year and a nearby water treatment plant upgraded to supply the village.
The Department of Human Settlements has been following the process to formalise the township for the past several years, but it will still take some time. This will enable the municipality to formally supply services to the community and government departments to construct community amenities.