Mooi River truck arson condemned
03 May 2018 | Web Article Number: ME20189783
THE South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) has joined the growing chorus of condemnation of the violent and destructive protests at the Mooi River toll plaza.
“There is a right to protest, but that does not include the right to destroy public or other property, or endanger life and limb. Clearly the ugly protests at the Mooi River toll plaza over the long weekend violated this principle,” said CEO Skhumbuzo Macozoma.
Nearly 50 trucks have been burned or otherwise damaged in violent protests near the toll plaza in recent weeks, with the latest incidents taking place on Sunday.
We strongly condemn such actions and call on law enforcement agencies to act decisively and see to it that those guilty of breaking the law are brought to book,” Macozoma said.
“This was not a matter in which the roads agency was directly involved, but it endangered the safety of those using the N3, damaged tourism prospects in the province and hurt the image of South Africa. No-one and nothing was gained from the protest.”
The agency would not speculate as to the cause of the violent action, but deplored the fact that protesters resorted to intimidation and destruction to make their point.
“The violence that often times characterises demonstrations and protests is deplorable and can never be justified. There are other ways to settle disputes, and we ask that those involved find each other to resolve the outstanding issues.”
Macozoma regretted the negative impact and inconvenience the violent incidents had on those travelling through the toll plaza.
SANRAL’s comments follow condemnation from political leaders and the hospitality industry.
Mooi River’s Mayor Xolani Duma warned that the attacks, if allowed to continue unchecked, threatened to drive out investors and kill jobs, turning the Midlands town into a “ghost town”.
The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa said the incidents could affect the local tourism industry which depends on the safe and free flow of traffic along the vital N3 arterial route.