Protesters have unleashed their wrath yet again, by burning debris across roadways and throwing stones at passing motorists, from the Whittaker Avenue bridge in Reservoir Hills within the vicinity of the M19 from the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The hectic and violent protest once again plunged residents, scholars and motorists into utter chaos as transport routes were blocked resulting in traffic congestion and disrupted schedules.
Speaking to the Weekly Gazette, Reservoir Hills Community Policing Sector (CPS) PRO, Ray Jeawon, slammed the ongoing protests and said it was unforgivable for members of public to be subjected to such violence and pandemonium on an ongoing basis.
“The Reservoir Hills community is under siege. Informal residents from Umgudulu Road known as the Banana City informal settlement decided to take a stance on their unmet housing demands and blocked off Varsity Drive and the M19 with burning tyres and debris. We received wind of this protest action on Monday night but it was unavoidable.
What we saw on Tuesday morning was terrible. Incensed protesters jammed the whole of Mountbatten Drive as cars were diverted off the M19. The frenzied protesters took over the Whittaker Avenue bridge and stoned vehicles with rocks and boulders. Despite a police presence with members from Public Order Policing (POP) and Durban Metro Multi-Operational Response Team (Mort) on scene, protesters were relentless in their attacks,” said Jeawon.
“Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them but the protesters quickly regrouped and returned when police moved away. Metro tried their best to clear up the roadway in both directions but protesters were persistent in obstructing the roads. Reservoir Hills residents do not know who turn to for help regarding these continuous violent disruptions which handicap residents, motorists and scholars. Together with the DSW strike, the Reservoir Hills community is at a loss for assistance to resolve this fiasco which leaves residents facing volatile situations on almost a daily basis,” said Jeawon.
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane, said, “From 04:00 a group of about 100 people were protesting along Varsity Drive and M19 in Reservoir Hills, blocking the roads with burning tyres. The motive is unknown at this stage. No damage or injuries reported. SAPS POP and Metro police are monitoring the area and the situation is currently calm.”
He said such protests are damaging to the infrastructure in the area and the violence exhibited by the protesters leaves the community and members of the public alarmed at the display of blatant intimidation towards innocent road users.
“We need an intervention from leadership in the Ethekwini Municipality to hear the pleas of the Reservoir Hills community or heed the call of those disgruntled protesters so peace and stability can be restored to the area,” added Jeawon.