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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

National shutdown: eThekwini Municipality assures residents of their safety

The EFF demands President Cyril Ramaphosa steps down.

As the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) continues with its country-wide shutdown, the eThekwini Municipality said all routes are clear in Durban.

The EFF, which is leading the national shutdown, kicked off their protest well before midnight on Sunday.

They are demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa step down and are protesting against the constant bouts of load shedding that South Africa has been experiencing.

Safety measures

eThekwini municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said measures have been implemented to ensure the safety of residents during the planned national shutdown on Monday, 20 March.

“This includes additional metro police officers being deployed to all communities in response to the planned national shutdown by the EFF. The City assures the public that all roads in eThekwini are clear and safe for motorists to use. Police is out in full force to guard against any criminal activity and lawlessness.

“The M25, from Dube Village to Bester, has been cleared following a brief closure earlier this morning. The metro police, South African Police Service, and other law enforcement agencies are ready to respond swiftly to any reported disruptions,” Mayisela said.

ALSO READ: National shutdown: ‘SA not a banana republic’ – Mbalula

No incidents

Mayisela added that there have been no reports of looting or violent protests reported in Durban.

“Regular updates will be provided throughout the day,” he said.

Countrywide arrests

Earlier, Police Minister Bheki Cele said at least 87 people have been arrested so far during the national shutdown.

Of the 87 arrested, 41 were arrested in Gauteng, 29 in North West, 15 in Free State.

There were also arrests in other provinces such as Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, Cele said.

During the media briefing early on Monday morning, Cele also said over 24 000 tyres have been found and confiscated by police and other law enforcement agencies.

Cele said authorities will be monitoring roads and communities, enforcing the law during the EFF protests.

N3 Toll

Meanwhile, the N3 Toll Concession Operations manager Thania Dhoogra said the route between Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal and Heidelberg in Gauteng remain open to traffic.

“However, reports have been received of protestors stoning vehicles in the vicinity of Intabazwe near Harrismith in the Free State. Law enforcement services are on scene, but road users are advised to approach the area with caution,” Dhoogra said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: National shutdown: ‘Over 80 people arrested across SA’, Cele says