KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala will lead a high-level delegation to protest-torn Ladysmith in a bid to resolve ongoing instability in the town.
Zikalala’s move comes in the wake of continued disruptions to business operations and government services, including water, as well as clashes with police and the burning of debris.
Residents have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand that Alfred Duma local municipality mayor Vincent Madlala steps down. They accuse him of looting municipal coffers for his personal use.
In the latest incident on Monday, roads were again blockaded with stones.
Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele said the roads have since been opened and that police, including the public order policing unit, are monitoring the situation.
The premier’s delegation will include Bheki Ntuli, the MEC for transport, community safety, and liaison, and Nomusa Dube-Ncube, the MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs, as well as local leaders and other senior government officials.
Zikalala is expected to meet business people, aggrieved residents, and security officials.
“The situation cannot be allowed to continue unabated, hence we are coming closer as government to engage with all affected stakeholders,” he said.
“The current protest is affecting business and the economy of all small towns relying on Ladysmith as an important corridor. Our interest is to ensure that there is stability in the province. We cannot allow Ladysmith to regress on the work done.
“Once again, we appeal for calm and to all protesters to engage peacefully.”