Police are on high alert in the small town of Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape after violent protesters brought it to a complete standstill over the last two days.
Lusikisiki police spokesperson Captain Mduduzi Godlwana told City Press that hawkers protesting bylaws had completely shut down the town and have vowed to continue until their demands are met.
Godlwana said reinforcement from other towns were brought in yesterday.
The hawkers are fighting a bylaw proposed by the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality which will see them being moved from the town’s central business district (CBD) to a place designated for them, next to a new taxi rank, on the northern side of the Eastern Pondoland town.
“The whole of Wednesday and Thursday they have been protesting and blockading roads, burning tyres. All the shops have closed, including fuel stations. It’s a messy situation here. Everything is tense,” Godlwana said.
He said police were monitoring the situation to make sure no people were hurt or property damaged.
Godlwana said no one had been arrested as yet and there were no serious incidents.
Officials from the Ingquza Hill Local Municipality could not be immediately reached for comment.
Lusikisiki Ratepayers Association chairperson Khwalo Matandabuzo said: “Vandalism, looting of businesses and assault of innocent people has been the order of the day.”
He said the protesters, mostly youths, attacked motorists, innocent pedestrians and passengers.
Matandabuzo said business people were frustrated and were losing a lot of money because of the shutdown and called on government to intervene.
Godlwana said it was still unclear when the protest would end.
“We are working around the clock and all units are on standby and monitoring the situation, day and night,” Godlwana said.
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