June 11, 2016

BlackViolenceContinuesInSA: Fifteen black protesters are holding Isithebe, Mandeni, Sundumbili areas hostage by shutting off the water supply since Monday

Factories employing as many as 20 000 have been forced to close down operations...
Riot police patrol the streets of Isithebe in March.

Mandeni held to ransom, factory owners desperate

The group took over the Sundumbili water treatment plant in Mandeni in the early hours of Monday morning, shutting down the water supply to the Isithebe industrial area and surrounding areas.

Factories employing as many as 20 000 have been forced to shut down operations.

This follows major protests in the industrial area in March where numerous factories were torched.

The Royal Arch factory manager, Roshini Naicker said the closure of the factory since Monday has now affected the supply of materials to another 25 factories.

“We are frustrated. We can’t get answers from the municipality. No one tells us what is going on and what is being done about this situation,” said Naicker.

“We have already had to close down Distinctive Clothing after rioters burnt it down in March and 2500 people lost their jobs. Now we have to close a factory as there is no water and no answers. Why isn’t anyone doing anything?”

Owner of Associated Spinners, Harry Pieroni said 20 000 employees cannot work at his factory which also had to close.

Mandeni business against crime manager, Steve Fox said police are taking flack.

“They were about to eject the protesters from the water treatment plant, but the operators said apparently said they refused to return to work unless the police guaranteed them their safety.

“The police haven’t got the manpower to maintain a presence there.

“The protesters chased away the Mandeni mayor and are demanding to see chairman of the ANC Ilembe region, Ricardo Mthembu as they do not accept the councillor selection,” said Fox.

Schools have also closed.

“Meanwhile there is also a Mandeni municipality strike and road around the municipality have been closed and protesters are burning tyres and debris.

Protesters have shut off the industrial township of Isithebe and several municipal wards in the area affecting many thousands of people.

“We are battling. We can’t get anyone to come and help. We are desperate,” said Pieroni.