Newcastle was brought to a standstill this morning as the community continued their protest action from as early as 2am despite steady rain. Residents gathered at all the exit and entry points of the town preventing anyone from entering or leaving. Streets were barricaded with burning tyres.

The police and other emergency services were out in numbers keeping a watchful eye on developments.

Newcastle residents made their voices clear on several WhatsApp groups that they would not backdown until their demands were met. The mass action is a result of the looming Eskom threat to cut electricity to the town, along with the ever-increasing municipal tariffs.

The action also comes after Newcastle Mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba issued a statement to organisers saying that he was unavailable to engage with residents this week.

Newcastle was reminiscent of a ghost town as schools, businesses, and government departments remained closed. Protests have so far remained peaceful except for some areas where tyres were set alight. The fire department was quick to respond to put out the flames.