Police have used rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of villagers who blockaded the N2 road between Mount Frere and Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape.
Residents of Mhlotsheni and Qhanqo blockaded the road for more than four hours, demanding the electrification of their villages after having waited for more than 20 years.
They closed off the road with burning tyres and threw stones at passing vehicles.
Community spokesperson Lungelani Mrhamba claims that last year they were promised that electrification will resume in the villages but that has not happened.
“Everybody in South Africa will see and feel the pain that we are feeling because we do not have electricity there. We are closing this national road because we want them to feel the pressure. We are demanding this electricity because we know that it is there. We want every South African to feel this pain we are feeling here.”
Villagers have threatened to continue with their protest
Mzimvubu Local Municipality spokesperson Simthembile Khulu says villages will not receive any electricity soon due to a lack of funds.
“We would like to place on record that in terms of the municipal IDP, the electrification of the area of ward 12 and ward 13 around Mhlotsheni is planned for the next two to three years. This is because of the lack of resources presently. We do sympathise and empathise with the community however, we would like to urge our community to remain patient and bear with us because we remain committed to deliver services to the communities.”
Khulu has urged villagers to refrain from disrupting traffic on the N2 but to communicate their grievances with the local municipality.
Angry motorists, who spent hours on the road, have urged police and government departments concerned to act swiftly to provide electricity to the people to avoid traffic disruptions.
Villagers have threatened to continue with their protest if their demands are not met by both the local municipality and Eskom.