A group of protesting truck drivers fed up with the hiring of foreign drivers closed the N3 near Montrose late on Tuesday night.
Police were quick to attend the scene but the protest spilled over into Wednesday morning where the situation remains tense, according to police.
SAPS regional spokesperson for the Freestate Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said that the group of peaceful protestors had parked their trucks on the N3 at around 11.20pm.
“A group of about 30 truck drivers have parked their trucks on the N3 near Montrose closing the road totally,” Makhele said.
“They are demanding to see Minister Mbalula. Their main grievance is foreign truck drivers allowed to drive trucks in the country. The drivers are peaceful and just standing around. No acts of violence have been reported,” he said.
He said that the protestor’s closure of the road had resulted into traffic being backed up for 1 km in both directions.
He said public order police had been deployed to the scene of the protest and the trucks had started to move slowly. However, he said the road was still affected on Tuesday morning and the situation remained “tense” as trucks were allowing only taxis and private vehicles to drive through the blockade.
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“This is after a truck carrying coal was allegedly forced to deviate by two suspects who left it inside the road to block the traffic flow. Apparently, another truck which was carrying maize, collided with the truck already blocking the road, and a bus from the Maluti Bus Services including a taxi which was making u-turn to avoid the accident,” he said.
“The truck carrying maize left the road and landed on the shoulder of the road and the driver sustained serious injuries,” he said.
He said two people who were travelling in the taxi died at the scene of the accident, while a bus passenger sustained slight injuries.
“A case of culpable homicide is being investigated,” he said.
He said the victim’s names could not yet be released as their families had not yet been informed of the crash.