KwaZulu-Natal condemns torching of trucks on N3 and Factories in Isithebe Industrial Estate

KwaZulu-Natal Leader of Government Business, Mr Sihle Zikalala has condemned criminal elements involved in the burning of trucks on the N3 between Estcourt and Mooi River and as well as the destruction of property at Mandeni’s Isithebe Industrial Estate on the North Coast.

The week-long community unrests in Mandeni have halted production and put thousands of workers’ livelihoods in jeopardy as some factories had been burnt down.

At least five factories were set alight with one structure being completely destroyed. Seven trucks and one municipal vehicle were also torched.

Since Monday factories in the industrial estate owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation, have been torched by people disgruntled with the local municipality. We understand that people have issues they are concerned about. However, those issues don’t necessarily have a direct bearing on what is taking place in the industrial estate. We therefore urge communities not to vent their anger on economic hubs like this”, stated Mr Zikalala who is MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs and Ithala falls under his portfolio.

Together with MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison have engaged various stakeholders including Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism to find immediate solutions to the situation in Isithebe.

The provincial government was also concerned about the burning of eight trucks along the crucial N3 corridor that links KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa’s economic heartland of Gauteng, said Mr Zikalala.

The burning of trucks on the N3 disrupts the movement of goods between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and this has adverse impact on the economy and jobs. Although we have not been able to measure the impact of the road closures on the provincial economy, it must be noted that the disruption on the N3 causes logistical challenges for KwaZulu-Natal and the entire country. The transport sector contributes 10 percent to the province’s economy, said Mr Zikalala.

Meanwhile the provincial government has dispatched more SAPS members to Mandeni and 15 people have been arrested for malicious damage to property and for fermenting public violence, he added. The police visibility would also be heightened in all hot spot areas.

Source: Government of South Africa