15 arrested as protesters torch three factories in KZN industrial estate

One of the three factories that were set alight in Mandeni on Thursday evening
One of the three factories that were set alight in Mandeni on Thursday evening
Image: Supplied

Fifteen people have been arrested Mandeni, north of Durban, following continued protest action near the Isithebe industrial estate.

More police officers have also been sent to the volatile area.

Economic development MEC Sihle Zikalala, in a statement on Friday, condemned the protest action which saw at least three factories and a car being set alight. 

"Since Monday factories in the industrial estate, owned by Ithala Development Finance Corporation, have been torched by people disgruntled with the local municipality. We understand that people have issues they are concerned about. However, those issues don't necessarily have a direct bearing on what is taking place in the industrial estate,” said Zikalala.

The area has been gripped by protests since Monday, after a letter titled "Shutdown Mandeni" circulated among residents.

The letter stated that the protest action was aimed at stopping the spending of the community's money, the alleged reckless usage of municipality resources and alleged nepotism within the entity.

"No person shall live a good life with our money while we remain poor," the letter read.

Zikalala also condemned the torching of eight trucks on the N3 near Mooi River on Thursday.

"The burning of trucks on the N3 disrupts the movement of goods between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal and this has an adverse impact on the economy and jobs. Although we have not been able to measure the impact of the road closures on the provincial economy, it must be noted that the disruption on the N3 causes logistical challenges for KwaZulu-Natal and the entire country,” he said.

The MEC said that his office - together with the MEC for transport, community safety, and liaison - had engaged various stakeholders including Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism to find solutions to the situation in Isithebe.

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