Six state vehicles torched in protest-torn Ladysmith

Six vehicles belonging to the KZN social welfare development were torched in the KwaZulu-Natal town.
Six vehicles belonging to the KZN social welfare development were torched in the KwaZulu-Natal town.
Image: 123rf/Lukas Gojda

Six vehicles belonging to the KwaZulu-Natal social development department were torched in strife-torn Ladysmith on Wednesday.

MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza condemned the incident, describing it as an act of “organised criminals”.

On Tuesday, five trucks were torched on the R603 near Colenso, less than 30 minutes from Ladysmith.

“The department has received a report and seen pictures with its six vehicles burnt by brazen criminals,” said Khoza.

“We are shocked at this despicable act of vandalism, which is totally abhorrent, destructive and beyond any justification whatsoever.”

Khoza said the torching of the vehicles, which were parked at the department's district office, would hamper service delivery to the poor.

“These vehicles are an important tool used to quickly respond and provide services to our needy communities,” she said.

“The torching of our vehicles is another form of threatening employees who have suffered a lot of hijackings in the past.

“The law must take its course wherever and whenever our properties are under threat. We urge police to investigate such criminal activities without fear or favour. No-one should do these despicable and morally reprehensible acts, despite any frustration,” she said.

Police are investigating a case of arson.

This is the latest incident to hit protest-torn Ladysmith.

On Tuesday, a government delegation met business leaders, mayors and aggrieved residents in a bid to find a solution to stop the protests, which have brought the town to a standstill and cost it R30m a day.

KZN premier Sihle Zikalala condemned “the violent actions that have led to the destruction of property, torching of trucks and water shortages in some parts of the town”.

Residents have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand that Alfred Duma local municipality mayor Vincent Madlala step down. They accuse him of looting municipal coffers for his personal use.

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