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Mbombela communities live in fear after rumours of a possible shutdown in Mpumalanga

The rumours come just a day after the community of Karino in Mbombela barricaded the main roads leading to Mbombela, demanding water and electricity in their new settlement.

Lowveld Media has been inundated with calls from concerned residents and ardent readers, enquiring about a mass action protest planned for Friday June 21.

According to social media statements currently doing the rounds, the shutdown protest is planned for areas within the City of Mbombela.

The areas include Pienaar, Emoyeni, Lihawu, KaNyamazane, Tekwane North and South, KaBokweni and Plaston.

Even though the leaders of the alleged protest are currently unknown to this publication, messages received thus far suggest that it is about service delivery, with water and better roads high on the agenda.

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A Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Col Donald Mdhluli, told this publication that they have not received any formal application for a protest for Friday June 21.

He said if there is a planned protest for that day, and there’s no formal application for it, then it makes the protest illegal and, therefore, not protected.

Protesters in Karino used dirt to block the KMI Airport road on Tuesday June 19. Photo: Sihle Nyakane

“I can confirm though that we are aware of such threats made on social media. Police are on high alert and there will be maximum visibility to ensure that people are not unnecessarily inconvenienced. We have a duty to ensure law and order prevails, and we need to ensure that we prevent any criminal elements that may occur,” said Mdhluli.

These above-mentioned areas are known for their ‘no retreat no surrender’ stance when staging protests.

In most cases, hijacked trucks, burning tyres, debris, and stones are some of the items used by protesters to block or barricade main roads leading in and out of their areas, making it difficult for motorists and commuters to get to their different work places.

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On Tuesday morning, motorists travelling between the KMI Airport and Karino Road leading to Mbombela, had to use alternative roads because there was a protest and protesters had used trucks, rocks and dirt to block the roads.

They were demanding water and electricity. Once again police came to the fore and dispersed the protesters and the roads were reopened.

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