Life lost in N2 protest

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Phoenix Durban

Residents from Blackburn Village on Sibaya Drive in one of the many previous protests in the area.

A man was killed during violent clashes between riot police and hundreds of protesters at the Blackburn Village Informal Settlement, near Umhlanga, last Tuesday night.
Police spokeswoman, Col Thembeka Mbhele, said, “A group of almost a 1000 community members blockaded the N2 freeway with burning tyres. Community members were aggrieved by municipality officers disconnecting illegal electricity connections.” 
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“Public Order Police contained the situation of the unruly community members and they were dispersed. A case of public violence was opened at Verulam police station for investigation. A case of murder was also opened as a man died,” she added.
Police are now probing the manner in which the 30-year-old man was gunned down. Col Mbhele confirmed that detectives had already started their investigation.
“We can’t say at this stage who shot the man but this will be part of the work we need to do‚” she said‚ adding that the man had died as a result of gunshot wounds.
Communications officer of Verulam SAPS, Cpt H Kisten, said that a parallel investigation into public violence was also underway.

In July, Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Mxolisi Kaunda, set a deadline for government to quash illegal public protests. The deadline was last Tuesday.
Spokesman for the MEC’s office, Mluleki Mntungwa, admits that the problem persists. “Our province continues to be plagued by illegal public protests, mainly service delivery and labour,” he said.
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“However, since we announced the intervention by provincial government, we have seen successful intervening in some of the protests,” he added. 
Mntungwa said the provincial government now hopes to have wrested the problem by the end of the year.
He said of particular concern is the continued low conviction rate and that government plans to meet with law enforcement to address this specific issue.
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