A multi-million rand road construction project in KwaZulu-Natal has ground to a halt after residents forced construction workers to stop working.
Residents of Horseshoe Township in Kokstad became angry when they were told that only three residents from the township would get jobs.
About 300 residents demanded that workers stop work and threatened to stone anyone who refused.
Late on Monday, the residents staged a sit-in at the local town hall and held local councillor Mkhululi White and several construction workers hostage. They demanded to know why more of them were not employed.
White and representatives from the construction company, Pondo Civil Construction, managed to calm the crowd when they promised to look into the matter.
Community spokesman Mziwabantu Khumalo said they have been overlooked by the muni- cipality on several occasions.
"There are so many projects in other townships from which the Horseshoe community did not benefit. If more of our people are not employed in this R6,7million project, blood will spill," Khumalo said.
White said the council had resolved that there should be a new process to benefit more resi- dents from the townships.
"We decided that at least three people from each township should be employed by different projects," White said.
Zolile Ndamase of Pondo Civil Construction said the company had suffered huge financial losses and delays.