Community members in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal took to the streets on Wednesday on a cleanup drive following rampant looting amid violent protests that rocked the province.
Some residents from KwaMsane, Mtubatuba, and from eNseleni, Richards Bay, rolled up their sleeves to clear the debris left in the aftermath of a spate of destructive riots which the province’s premier, Sihle Zikalala, recently estimated resulted in infrastructure damage amounting to R1 billion.
Traffic on the N2, including near the area of KwaMsane Township, was disrupted and brought to a halt when #FreeZuma protests, which escalated to disruptive demonstrations and mass looting, spread throughout the province.
On Monday, a municipal building and a shopping complex at KwaMsane were gutted by a fire allegedly started by the protesters.
A hotel close to the township was on Monday evening set alight and looted.
The Mtubatuba Municipality responded to the protest and looting at the township and surrounding areas, including at eMfakayi where a truck was recently torched on the N2 in the wake of the violent protests, by shutting down the town working alongside various law enforcement agencies.
In a statement shared social media on Tuesday, the municipality’s mayor, Verus Ncamphalala, said: “We have decided to close Mtubatuba Town and Inkosi Mtubatuba Municipality. The reason is that our security personnel, SAPS and 1 Platoon of SANDF officers worked day and night yesterday until this morning trying to fend off opportunist who want to loot our town and burn it down.
A ward councillor from eNseleni said he was pleased that community members from the township initiated the cleanup and added that he hopes that such protest action does not break out again.
WATCH: eNseleni residents cleanup the area