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Protestors close off roads, demanding Newcastle Municipality addresses issues

Billowing clouds of black smoke filled the air, as tyres burn in the streets.

This comes after protestors closed off the entrance to Allen Street, at the intersection of HJ van Eck, and the road leading past Amcor Dam this morning.

“We attempted to close off all entrances to the CBD this morning, but it didn’t work according to plan,” says one protestor.

Protestors blocking off Allen Street, at the HJ van Eck intersection.

But why are people protesting? Why are they blocking entrances to different parts of town?

Mdu Msnisi, a local businessman, explains the community is rallying together following the exorbitant rates.

“What initially triggered the protest is the R213 123 387.95 that the Newcastle Municipality owes to Eskom. Now Eskom is threatening to turn off our electricity,” he says.

With the high rates and taxes, which Newcastillians have to pay, alongside the looming threat of power outages, Mnisi says the protests will go on for as long as it needs to.

Protestors blocking off the road leading past Amcor Dam.

“We will go on until the Municipality meets our demands. This is addressing the issue of the rates and the monies owing to Eskom.”

An attempt to contact Dr Dumisani Thabethe, head of communications at Newcastle Municipality was made. But unfortunately, no comment was forthcoming at the time of publication.

While there is a strong police presence and protestors have shown no aggression, Newcastillians are urged to proceed with caution when travelling through the CBD.

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