Chamber of Commerce disappointed by ‘criminality' in N3 protest

At least 15 trucks were set alight and 18 others were looted during the demonstration which forced the closure of the busy highway in both directions.

A burning truck on the N3 near Durban. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it's deeply disappointed by what it calls an act of criminality which took place on the N3 highway on Sunday night.

The N3 at the Mooi River Toll Plaza was closed to traffic following a violent protest.

At least 15 trucks were set alight and 18 others were looted during the demonstration which forced the closure of the busy highway in both directions.

Fifty-four people were arrested, including truck drivers for their possible involvement in the torching of trucks.

The chamber says while people are permitted to protest, it’s not acceptable to block the usage of national roads.

CEO Alan Mukoki said: “A culture is beginning to develop that you only get to get your grievances to be addressed if you are violent. We are not going to the fee until we burn the school library or destroy property or destroy infrastructure. And it is that behaviour that we are actually encouraging the government to act decisively on because they’ve kept quiet for too long.”

The N3 Toll Concession's Con Roux says there is a major delay but they are working on opening a southbound lane as well.

“People should rather plan for a worst case scenario and say at least a couple of hours and of course all of this sort of thing translates into behaviour on the road. While the rest of the N3 is free playing we are cautioning motorists please not to make up any lost time by speeding and to observe the rules of the road while they drive through.”

One lane, northbound, has now been reopened while officials are now trying to open the southbound lane to allow for a free flow of traffic.