Aug 10, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Avoid the N4: #NationalShutdown over petrol price hike closes roads

Drivers have been warned to avoid the N4 to Mbombela (Nelspruit) as sporadic protests have closed many roads.

The protests are in response to the recent fuel price increases, which have increased by 2.37 R/l for 93 octane petrol and 2.57 R/l for 95 octane. Diesel increased by 2.31 R/l (0.05% sulphur) and 2.30 R/l (0.005% sulphur).

The closures affect the 105km route from Komatipoort to Mbombela, which connects the city to Mozambique.

This route is heavily used by trucks transporting goods between the two countries.

Solange Soares, spokesman for Trans African Concessions (Trac), which oversees the route from Tshwane to Maputo, said the road from the border to Mbombela was closed but the west side of the tunnel had been opened to allow vehicles could enter the city. span>

There was a report of stone throwing at Emgwenya, but it had nothing to do with the protest as some reports have suggested.

“That there were allegedly stones thrown in an incident this morning [Wednesday]. It did not happen as part of the protest and is an isolated case. Law enforcement is at the tunnel to rectify the situation.

Mpumalanga SAPS spokesman Brig Selvy Mohlala said:“We urge motorists not to enter the N4 in protest driving is sporadic. We cannot ensure the safety of motorists.”

Commuters in townships in the Lowveld were stranded on Wednesday morning as buses and taxis were not running, RiseFM reports. Roads were blocked with trucks and debris, preventing motorists from entering.

Inaccessible roads included the N4 between Matsulu and Kanyamazane, the R538 in Karino and some of the busiest roads in the Mbombela CBD.

p>< p>“The road closure is an inconvenience, but when we look at the bigger picture, I fully understand the anger behind this protest. The cost of living is already high and now the price of gas has gone up again. The government needs to reconsider these prices,” said Bonginkosi Nkosi, who lives in Matsulu.

The area’s taxi companies also rallied and supported the protest.

Sibusiso Mbazima said, that they are forced to increase taxi fares, which was seen as unfair as it was so soon after the previous increase.

“If we don’t voice our frustration, the taxi ride from Matsulu to the city is expensive at R50, which is unrealistic for the average hand-to-mouth consumer,” said Mbazima, uninformed about the promotion.

Top Star’s John Mavundla said: “Taxi drivers have do not consult with us. They’ve outgrown us and that means we’re not making any money today.”

The shutdown also affected travelers traveling to various destinations via the N4.

“Me went Mozambique last night hoping to be in Johannesburg this morning but our bus got turned around at Kanyamazane and now we’re still on the N4 with no access to car washes. I’m hungry and still unsure when the road will open,” said Facilia Nhachungue.

Mpumalanga’s law enforcement officers are on high alert to contain any crime that may erupt.

Department of Moeti Mmusi, community security association and liaison, said MEC Vusi Shongwe “calls on all protesters to demonstrate within the law. You don’t have to violate the rights of others so he strongly condemns the closure of the roads to and from Mbombela.”

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