The N3 highway officially reopened to all traffic this weekend, following a tumultuous week of looting and violence across KZN. A large number of trucks and delivery vehicles were vandalised by rioters, bringing the key distribution route to its knees for the best part of seven days. However, some trepidation remains amongst locals.
Is it safe to travel on the N3 highway?
The calm felt across the province on Monday remains uneasy, and the scenes that played out on the N3 highway – such as the torching of lorries and the burning of tyres – have left some people on edge. The Road Freight Association’s Gavin Kelly said in a statement that, although there is an increased police presence on the road, it’s not quite ‘impenetrable’.
“It is important that our trucks are protected because our trucks are targets. Most of the protection is being done by private security. There are spots where there are SAPS and the army – but we haven’t seen that promised ring of steel around the N3 highway and around the areas where we need to deliver too in terms of distribution centres.”
Ntshavheni encourages commuters back onto the motorway
On Monday morning, Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that businesses and commuters should feel free to use the N3 highway, because there has been an increase in security patrols. Without being overly emphatic, she explained that agreements are in place to protect logistical operations.
“We’ve agreed that the government is not going to be a private security company for the logistics companies and they’ve said that that works for them and in any case, they have their own security and that is the cause of the increase in security patrols when we were there.” | Acting Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
N3 highway traffic latest, Monday 19 July
Officials from the N3 Highway Toll Plaza management group are, however, a little more cautious. ‘Vigilance’ is their word of the day, and spokesperson Thania Dhoogra has advised drivers to use the motorway during the daytime – if possible.
“While on the N3 toll route, we remind road users to please remain vigilant. Where possible, daytime travel is recommended. Law enforcement continues to maintain a highly visible presence on the route. It is vitally important to proceed with extreme caution and to stay alert at all times.” | Thania Dhoogra