Deceased ‘held hostage’ by residents

Emfuleni Fire and Rescue extinguished fire on the road leading to the Vanderbijlpark Cemetery over the weekend. Photo: Lazarus Dithagiso

VANDERBIJLPARK. – A procession of hearses and mourners were held hostage by residents who barricaded the corner of Donges and Bruce Street in Vanderbijlpark recently. The key route was blocked to mourners going to visit Vanderbijlpark Cemetery because nearby residents of Miami Sands and Vanderbijlpark areas demanded the installation of a speed hump, the cessation of an illegal dump site and of faulty street lights.

Mourners were forced to take an alternative and far longer route to and from the cemetery. Blocking roads has become the first resort for community members when they protest. The municipal dump established by municipal front-end loaders has now become a general public dump when it was apparently only meant as an earthworks dump.

Solly Dhlamini (35) a mourner from Zone 7, Sebokeng, who was attending the funeral of a friend, said that the protesters were an inconvenience. Dlamini said the community of Miami Sands and residents from Vanderbijlpark areas knew that this was a key route to the cemetery and that it would be impossible for the municipality to build speed humps on such a road. Other mourners wanted to fight the protesters and they insisted on cleaning the road for the hearses to drive through.

The South African Police Service, the Department of Fire and Rescue, and the Emfuleni Traffic Department, responded to the scene and later cleared the road.

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