Major highway shut down as riots cause food security concerns in South Africa

 ·13 Jul 2021

Motorists have been advised against travelling on the N3 highway on Tuesday (13 July) as widespread looting and riots continue to impact one of South Africa’s most important routes.

The N3 Toll concession group said that the entire toll route had been closed to all traffic between the towns of Cedara in KZN and Heidelberg in Gauteng, in the interests of safety and security.

Motorists are strongly advised to avoid the route in its entirety until further notice, it said.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that the impact of public violence against the road freight industry and damage to freeways that serve as economic arteries will be also be felt by the people organising and committing these crimes.

He said that the closure of major trade routes has also caused growing concerns around food and medicine security.

In a national address on Monday evening (12 July), Ramaphosa said that although these may be opportunistic acts of looting driven by hardship and poverty, he said that the poor and marginalised will bear the ultimate brunt of the destruction.

“Shops have been looted and infrastructure destroyed. This means that our sick cannot get medication from pharmacies, food does not reach supermarket shelves, and health workers cannot go to work.”

Ramaphosa said that South Africa’s vaccination programme has also been severely disrupted just as it is gaining momentum.

This will have lasting effects on our ability to consolidate some of the progress we were already witnessing in our economic recovery, he said.

“These disruptions will cost lives by cutting off the supply chains that sustain our food, health and production systems.    The path of violence, of looting and anarchy, leads only to more violence and devastation.

“It leads to more poverty, more unemployment, and more loss of innocent life.  This is not who we are as a people.”

Read: 2,500 army members deployed to quell riots and looting in South Africa

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