In a bid to end lawlessness on the National Roads in the Eastern Cape, the South African Police Service has nabbed four male suspects aged between 22 and 52 for hijacking trucks in order to use them as tools to blockade N2 national road between Mthatha and Butterworth in Idutywa.

The incident took place on Friday afternoon, 12 May 2023 at about 14:00 near Colosa, King Hintsa and Ngxakaxha village just outside Idutywa. According to the information the suspects, who are believed to be employees of the local taxi associations, had monitored these trucks as they pass through Idutywa, stopped them and coerced drivers to hand over keys in order for them to carry out their unlawful actions to blockade the road.

Several truck drivers fell victim to this practice on Friday as they were left stranded by the suspects who subjected them to inexpressible intimidation so that they would not resist. As the day went by with the police investigating and searching for the culprits, information was received which pointed at the suspects. Eventually, the four suspects were arrested in Idutywa and the truck keys which they had taken away were also recovered.

The motive for the road blockade is currently unknown however, cases of truck jacking, possession of suspected stolen property and damage to infrastructure have been registered for investigation.

The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene has welcomed the arrests of the suspects. “In as much as we recognise the right of people to voice out their dissatisfaction with anything, the SAPS is however very concerned about the manner in which people are expressing themselves which amounts to infringing on the constitutional right of other people to a free movement. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and those who continue to cross the line in this regards will surely find themselves behind the prison doors. There are regulated and acceptable mechanisms which people use to channel their concerns. Those who choose to disregard these channels will continue to incriminate themselves.” Lt Gen Mene concluded.

The arrested suspects are expected in the Dutywa Magistrate’s Court on Monday, 15 May 2023 once they are charged.

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