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Thread: Protests and blockades in Muden spiral out of control

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Protests and blockades in Muden spiral out of control

    The situation in Muden continues to spiral out of control, with blockade action on the regional road through the village spreading to farm access roads in the area. Protests and blockades by the Zimbambeleni community at Muden are getting worse as government continues to offer words and promises, but no action.


    Since 22nd July the Muden pass has been repeatedly blocked with huge boulders, a bread truck has been burned out, two wooden bridges in the valley have been burned and destroyed, farms in the area have been plundered and the access road to Mhlopeni Nature Reserve has been blockaded with large boulders and cut down trees.

    This piece from the Greytown Gazette gives some background:
    24 July 2013

    MUDEN ROAD BLOCKADED ...AGAIN

    Well over a year ago National and Provincial government assured the protestors in Muden that, despite having taken no action over the past 12 years to solve the situation action would be now be taken .This was after the almost month long blockade of the Greytown/Muden road which led to considerable hardships on both sides of the road affecting businesses; transport and most of all thousands of school children in Muden who could not go to school or whose teachers were not able to get there. The reason - 13 years of discussion and negotiations with the land owners (Lot 194 Marina Beach) who are willing to sell a substantial portion, the residents on Hillermann farm who demand service delivery , and Provincial and National government who meet, talk and promise and do absolutely nothing   to further, let alone finalise the situation. But last year’s blockades did not achieve the hoped for end results.

    And once again angry protestors are taking this disruptive action hoping that the powers that be will get the message and actually do something positive. Zimbambeleni head Jeffrey Ngobese told the Greytown Gazette that the community had submitted letters, made phone calls and despite Minister Collins Chabane visit to the community and assurances that action would be taken - there was nothing.

    There were major hold ups on the road which was solidly blocked from about 2.30 on Monday morning...and again on Tuesday with already considerable damage (a SASKO truck delivering bread was set alight) and chaos - matrics should be writing their trials but about 30 or so teachers were stuck in Greytown on Monday morning because of the safety railings ripped from the sides of the road, rocks and burning tyre blockades at Santa Maria and Mount Ernestina School.
    RTI personnel moved in to control and monitor and were joined by POP personnel from Pietermaritzburg and Greytown and Muden Police., A Department of Transport TLB and driver was used to open a single lane for light vehicles on Monday but was then vandalised.

    Whilst sympathising with the residents frustrations at the total lack of action on the part of all sections of Government involved the impact on all members of the community the impact on all members of the community is considerable- as queried in the past, what will it take for the message to get through to Government that 13 years of no action is not acceptable at any level. And that these protests will continue until the promised action is taken.
    Mhlopeni Nature Reserve access road blockaded.
    On 29th July Joy Alcock reported from Mhlopeni Nature Reserve in the Muden valley as follows:

    Sunday night, 21st the Muden pass was trashed. A few big rocks were put across our road, below the eagles nest and Umphafa camp was raided, 12 matrasses and an iron frame bed stolen, together with small kitchen items and cleaning materials, but nothing trashed or broken.

    On Monday we cleared the rocks from the road.

    Monday night, our access road was totally trashed. Huge rocks were barred down from the slopes and trees cut down to block the way. The moon was full and they must have worked all night. Richard phoned the SAPS Muden and I walked down to Andy's site by the Mooi to hold the fort there while he came up with some labour to clear the mess off. Got it cleared by about 2.30 p.m. same day.

    A bread van and 2 wooden bridges over the Mooi River were burnt out.

    No action here on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but Muden Pass attacked again, this time with glass as well as rocks and trees. Jeffrey makes a statement via East Coast radio to the effect that 500 families are in "slavery" on farms, no water or sanitation provided and protests will continue until the situation is remedied by the authorities.

    Thursday 25th July Fritz and Andy had to go via Keates Drift to Greytown for provisions. They arrived at our drift on the Mhlopeni stream at 3.30p.m. and found it ripped apart, huge boulders blocking the way. Andy began to clear the way (Fritz can't do much with his gammy leg) and a crowd began to gather to watch. Only one guy came to help him. It started to get a bit hairy as the crowd grew and included youths from the Mission farm, so Andy called the cops who arrived in half an hour. He also phoned Richard to tell him to start evacuating his site on the big truck and load as much as he could. Well to put it shortly, it took another 8 hours to get to the farmhouse, clearing blockades along the way, only arriving 11.30 p.m.

    That night a mob attacked Martin's barn on Thornton farm, ransacked, stole, and terrorised the guards. They raided Andy's little house, smashed and burned what they could get their hands on, including our new tent and 3 water tanks (tyres put on top and set fire). Stole most of the vegetables etc. Obviously very frustrated the solar panels were gone, so smashed the roof off.
    Picture: Richard Alcock and son Andy clear the remains of a demolished stone gateway as they struggle through the night to get back home.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    KwaZulu-Natal MEC responds to Muden protests:


    Mchunu condemns road blockage by the Muden community

    25 Jul 2013

    KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, notes with concern the so-called service delivery protests accompanied by the acts of violence, stone-throwing and blockading of roads in Muden near Greytown.

    The MEC condemns the blockading of road linking Muden with Greytown as this has a negative impact on the economy of these small farming towns. It is understood that the protests were triggered by a difference over land ownership, which is being contested between the community and a local farmer. This conflict has brought instability to the area, which has affected the free movement of locals and learners.

    MEC Mchunu has called on all parties to this conflict to work swiftly towards resolving it so that normality could be achieved. “The Government of KwaZulu-Natal respects the Constitutional rights of the people of Muden to protest lawfully and peacefully.

    However, violent protests that impede the freedom of others to exercise their rights and to drive safely on provincial roads are totally unacceptable and should be condemned with in strongest possible terms.”

    “In this regard, I urge those who have genuine grievances to rather engage in a dialogue with authorities in a bid to resolve their problems rather than embarking on violent protests that may undermine the validity of their cause,” said Mchunu. Mchunu also called on those in authorities to engage the leadership of the protest and seek to find a lasting solution to the local problems and challenges.

    “However, in a situation like this police have a duty to safeguard peace, protect life and property and ensure that the situation returns to normality. And as such police are keeping a close eye on the situation in Muden and I want to warn those who will be found in a possession of doing what is against the law while protesting they will be arrested,” he said.
    After 13 years of engagement without results, it's not surprising the Zimbambeleni community has ignored the MEC and protest action in the Muden area continues to escalate.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    This is the reality of living in South Africa, it is just a matter of time, notice how it is becoming like ZIM, we will all be walking around like this with guns on the hip for protection and our wives and children trained to use firearms. Problem is when the shit goes down and trust me I talk from experience working in the townships back in the 80's no matter how much fire power you have they have the numbers, they going to rape kill and chop you up with pangas. I don't think they will even waste time burning you with tyres. This time there is nowhere to go.

    It is a scary experience standing in front of thousands of protestors and when they start to move, to put it bluntly you f%^&*d unless back in the day we had vehicle which could drive over the people (Caspers) this time there isn't even an army to protect us and to make it even worse you will have your family to try protect. As I am typing I can remember how we were stormed by about 5000+ angry protestors, there were 14 of us at the Chesterville police station (behind Westville), I am not going to go into detail, but what I can tell you is when it was all over how I stood shaking so much that I could even hold my rifle anymore and I had pissed in my boots. I hope for all the people in this countries sake they never have to experience it, it is quite scary.

    Don't worry it will never happen in this country, this is the rainbow nation.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Despite the severity of the situation, the Muden protests continue to get remarkably little media exposure. So some updates on events and (regretfully not all corroborated) stories over the past couple of weeks.

    Blockades continue on the Muden Pass, apparently consisting of not just rocks, but 1 meter wide by 1.5 meter deep trenches dug across the road.
    Among other structures in the area, an entire school has been burned to the ground.
    The Muden police will not accept or record incident reports (ob reports) out of fear for their own and family lives.
    Apparently the fear of reprisals has also meant no action of substance has been coming from Greytown either.
    Politicians who have tried to meet with the protesters have been sent packing. The protesters are adamant they will not budge until they see delivery. No more promises.
    The entire Muden valley is in a state of siege - with one recent exception. Taxi bosses in the valley have prevailed on the protesters to allow them to get their vehicles through the blockaded area, the "request" made and accepted apparently with suitably armed backup as persuasion. (Being on the wrong end of a collection of AK47s would persuade most folks, I reckon).
    On the back of that particular success, farmers in the region had issued an "advisory" that if authorities would do nothing to resolve the situation, they would start taking measures to lift the blockades in similar fashion to the taxi bosses starting today (Monday 12th August).

    Which it seems has finally goaded some form of official response from authorities - the stock theft unit and a police intelligence unit were seen actively working together visiting farms in the area today. Mainly intelligence gathering and setting up things, by the sound of it. And with promises of a concerted effort to start clearing farm access roads tomorrow.

    Tomorrow could be an interesting day. They've got quite a task ahead of them.

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    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    SA is well on the road from low-level anarchy, to full-blown anarchy.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Diamond Member Vanash Naick's Avatar
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    The Dangerous Weapons Act 15 of 2013 was assented to on 24 July 2013. I’m not however certain when it commences.

    The rationale is that police now have the power to arrest a protestor who has in his possession any item stipulated in the Act. This will include firearms, knifes, bricks, sticks etc. The brainchild is that if you a protestor and you have a brick in your hand, you cannot claim that you peacefully protesting as the next question is: why do you have a brick in your hand? The police may arrest such a person.

    Section 1 of the Act defines dangerous weapon as follows:

    “dangerous weapon” means any object, other than a firearm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, if it were used for an unlawful purpose.


    Section 5 of the Act which now amends the Regulation of Gatherings Act, 1993 (Act No. 205 of 1993), provides



    “(4) [Participants] No participant at a gathering or demonstration [shall abide by any law in respect of the carrying of dangerous weapons,] mayhave in his or her possession-

    (a) any airgun, firearm, imitation firearm or any muzzle loading firearm, as defined in section 1 of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No. 60 of2000), or any object which resembles a firearm and that is likely to be mistaken for a firearm; or
    (b) any dangerous weapon, as defined in the Dangerous Weapons Act, 2013 and the convener and marshals, if any, shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that [the said laws are] this section is complied with.”;
    (b) by the addition in section 12(1) of the following paragraph:
    “(k) who is in possession of or carrying any object referred to in section 8(4) in contravention of that section,”;
    (c) by the substitution in section 12(1) for the words following paragraph (j) of
    the following words:
    “shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction liable-_
    (i) in the case of a contravention referred to in paragraphs (a) to (j),
    to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year
    or to both such fine and such imprisonment; and
    (ii) in the case of a contravention referred to in paragraph (k),to a fine
    or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years.”; and
    (d) by the substitution in section 13(1)(a) for subparagraph (ii) of the following
    subparagraph:
    “(ii) [Dangerous Weapons Act, 1968 (Act No. 71 of 1968)] Dangerous
    Weapons Act, 2013; or”.



    “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Karl Marx
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It sounds like there has been much progress for Muden Valley residents this week. This news in from Mhlopeni Nature Reserve:




    After all the mayhem of the past 3 weeks I can report that the Muden Pass has been re-opened and Richard was able to get through in his little bug, via our usual access road, to Greytown for a Biodiversity meeting (and to buy food again.)

    He says the Muden Pass still looks like a bit of a war zone, but the burned- out vehicles have been removed, the rocks and trees cleared away by bull- dozers and children are back at school. The trenches have been filled and traffic is running normally. Some kind of a deal has been struck between Corbishley and Land Affairs about the squatters on his land on the Pass. (below Santa Maria store).

    On our side, there was a meeting between cattle owners, the Stock Theft Unit and ourselves, at Mhlopeni, this Monday.
    They had complained they could not fetch their cattle because the road had been closed here and were fearful their animals had been impounded.
    To cut a long story short, Gerrie Geldenhuys and interpreter told them to fix and re-open the road and they must take their cattle out, control them safe near their houses and look after them properly. It is not our job to be a nursemaid for other people's cows.

    They have done a patch job to fix the road, with nowhere the same energy expended by those who trashed it: took about 50 cattle out today, from up the valley.
    A visit also from SAPS Intelligence, Andy provided information about the local gangs and their connections with Jeffrey. They should have enough now, to get him arrested, if the (political) will is there.

    Will work on the old access road and getting the camp sorted out tomorrow.

    God willing, we are through the worst. It has been a devastating experience all round. The closest I have ever been to all-out war!

    Much love
    Joy.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    It get more real when some of the names are familiar. Used to live in the region years ago. A total shame that things have escalated this far.

    We had better get used to living in a state of low-grade civil war. With the current 'powers that not be', anarchy must surely increase?
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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