Protests hit the headlines

Protests. Road closures. Burning tyres. Rocks and poles blocking roads. Stoned vehicles.

Over the past weeks, there have been almost daily closures of roads leading to Greytown, Tugela Ferry, Muden, Weenen, Stanger and more.

The protestors usually gather an hour or two after midnight, making it dangerous for motorists. The Police, RTI, and private security personnel are alerted and are promptly at the scene.

The most common theme appears to be lack of service delivery in the communities.

However, the weekend's standoff on the Greytown/Kranskop road outside and in the vicinity of KwaSizabantu is said to have been as a result of community members being informed that it was not acceptable for them to be members of a certain political party.

In a separate incident, the Greytown/Kranskop road was closed last Tuesday when protestors focused on the farm Potspruit, accusing owner Carl Gathmann of deliberately desecrating the graves of their forefathers.

They went on the rampage, burning the farm manager's house, a guardhouse across the road, 400 hay bales, a shed and setting fire to a field.

The previous night, fires had been set in some of the plantations in the area and, when the farmers went to try to put the fires out, the protestors started throwing stones at them.

On Thursday, Gathmann issued a press release in which he said, “I think it's important for all people to respect one another's sacred beliefs and sites of interment. I have consistently made efforts on my farm to deal with the remains of the dead with respect and care and also to treat the living with utmost dignity.”

He said he would never intentionally desecrate people's graves.

Fifteen individuals were arrested last Friday on charges of public violence.

At the time of going to press the situation in the Kranskop and KSB area was under control.