A smouldering cloud of black smoke fills the air, as a group of protestors burn tyres and chant along the R34 between Melmoth and Vryheid.
The atmosphere tense, with protestors refusing to move or be silenced. From Monday, July 15, motorists have found road conditions on the R34 unpredictable. Uncertain if protestors would close off the roads.
The proceedings began following a service delivery protest, relating to tarred roads and water.
Under the watchful eye of police officers, the protest came to a brief halt, when the Zululand district mayor, Thulasizwe Buthelezi addressed the protestors on Monday.
However, unhappy with the mayor’s response, the protests began again on Tuesday, July 16, and has since then been sporadic.
While the protest affects traffic conditions, the protests along the R34 did not revolve solely around service delivery.
A march took place at the Uitkomst Colliery on Tuesday, July 15.
“The march is being held in order to establish a forum. The idea of the forum is to open communication between people living within the area and the mine. The forum must also see more communication between the employees and the employers at the mine before any decisions are made,” says an unofficial source on the scene.
Raising concerns and set to hand over a memorandum to the mining company, participants obtained the necessary permission from Utrecht Municipality to march to the Uitkomst Colliery.
Uitkomst Colliery management says the mine has committed in a meeting with group representatives, to meet next week and address the concerns raised.
Furthermore, the meeting on Tuesday between the participants and the management team saw the entire process of handing over the memorandum taking 30 minutes. Thereby, not affecting the mine’s operations in the slightest.
Motorists are, however, encouraged to practise caution when travelling along the R34 towards Vryheid and Melmoth, as tensions are high at present.