KZN protesters arrested for blocking N3

Durban - Ten people have been arrested in protests in Mooi River calling for the removal of a KwaZulu-Natal mayor.

The protesters blocked part of the N3 passing Mooi River on Monday , police said.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said the 10 were expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

The protesters had been calling for the removal of Mooi Mpofana local municipality Mayor Ntombi Mpangase.

The protests started on Friday, but died down over the weekend. They erupted again on Monday.

"The situation is still tense and police are monitoring the situation," said Zwane.

KwaZulu-Natal co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said in a statement the department had sent "a high level rapid response team to the municipality to end the protest action which is blocking traffic on the N3 highway near Mooi River".

KwaZulu-Natal Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said officially the road was not closed, but that protesters had closed it.

She said a joint command centre had been set up, but that comment needed to be obtained from the police.

The N3 toll concession's marketing manager Andy Visser said: "Our main concern is that of our staff at the [toll] plaza and motorists using the route."

Apart from an unconfirmed report of a car being struck by a stone on Friday, Visser said she had not heard of further incidents affecting motorists.

Most of the problems, including the burning of tyres, were on the Durban-bound lanes near the toll plaza.

The plaza had remained open despite the fact that a number of staff had been unable to get to work because of the protests.

"It hit full swing this morning, but it changes constantly," Visser said of the protest.

Motorists were urged to be careful and, if possible, delay their departure until authorities had restored calm.

No comment could be obtained from the municipality. Their main switchboard number went unanswered.