Needless violence from protestors plague N2

Needless violence from protestors plague N2

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GK CRONJE

10 August 2021

Five people were arrested in connection with the violence and arson of the vehicles. The probe continues, and residents with information pertaining to the incident are urged to come forward.

As the Merino Mall’s construction is progressing swiftly, senseless acts of violence and intimidation seem to be the order of the day from residents in Ermelo and the surrounding informal settlements. Several serious allegations have surfaced, ranging from incitement of violence from prominent business men in the area, to death threats, and threats of a complete shutdown of Ermelo if inane demands aren’t adhered to. On Wednesday, 4 August 2021, various reports were received from residents marching through Ermelo, armed with knives, pangas, sticks and pipes. Authorities responded swiftly, and dispersed the crowds. According to available information, infighting between residents residing in opposing informal settlements over employment opportunities at the Merino Mall construction site was the cause of the ruckus.

Although the crowds dispersed, later the same evening all hell broke loose on the N2 Acacia crossing, which is notorious for the senseless acts of violence from the residents in the area. Three trucks and a light vehicle were set alight in an apparent act of protest, while two other trucks were damaged by suspects. In an act of mindlessness, one of the drivers of the heavy vehicles was also severely beaten by protestors. The sudden surge of violence prompted police and the SANDF to maintain heightened visibility for several days after the fact. The police in Ermelo called, and still calls, on members of the public with information on the whereabouts of the suspects who set the vehicles alight. The probe continues, and residents with information pertaining to the incident are urged to come forward.

Five people were arrested in connection with the violence and arson of the vehicles. The five suspects that were arrested are aged between 30 to 58-years old. The suspects are expected to appear in the Ermelo Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, 10 August 2021.