Premier is safe after protest

The office of the premier has confirmed that Mr David Mabuza’s safety was not threatened by the protest action near his home this morning.

It is not unheard of for politicians’ homes to be burnt down in protest.

Read more: Protesters burn down house

Mabuza’s spokesman Mr Zibonele Mncwango told Lowvelder this morning that he made it safely to work.

“Our understanding is that the protest was not necessarily in front of his house. Law enforcement handled the situation.

“The premier encourages taxi drivers not to infringe on other people’s rights. When they barricade the road with burning tyres, people fear for their lives and they cannot use the road freely.”

Taxi drivers barricaded the intersection that lead to Badplaas, Barberton and the R40. All the roads are closed to these destinations.

The taxi drivers have blocked the road because they want their platform of transporting passengers from Barberton to Nelspruit back. The police are currently trying to convince them to move but they are refusing, saying they want the mayor.

ALSO IN RECENT NEWS: WARNING: Avoid agricultural college road due to ongoing protest at UMP

Police have also opened fire and are throwing teargas at the taxi drivers.

Update – 08:34: The taxi drivers ran away after the police shot rubber bullets and threw teargas at them, but they left their taxis on the road, and the road is still inaccessible.

Update – 08:45: Police are clearing the scene. Taxi drivers fled after rubber bullets and teargas was fired at them. Police said that they will tow any remaining vehicles from the road if they are not collected.

Update – 08:55: Taxi drivers are back on the scene, sitting next to their taxis and are police are trying to mediate a resolution with them. They are supposed to move their taxis from the road to Barberton town, but they are uncooperative.

Update – 09:05: According to the taxi drivers they are angry because they previously raised their issues with the mayor and had several meetings with him. They claim that they only got empty promises from him. They are still demanding that their platform at the taxi rank still be erected, and they are also demanding that the price of the taxis be decreased.

Update – 09:11: The road has been cleared and is open again to the public.

 

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Jonothan Hen-Boisen
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