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Driver Shares Harrowing Tale Faced with Diepkloof Rioters, Who Went on to Loot and Burn His Truck

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A truck driver, who was caught in the early morning mayhem on a Soweto highway, described how he had to flee for his life when a group of Diepkloof hostel residents looted and torched his truck.

Bukhanya Mditshwa was driving along the N1 Northbound and N12 East split, near the Diepkloof interchange, around 05:15 on Monday morning when he came under attack.

His truck was carrying cartons of fresh milk.

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“I was travelling from Gqeberha (Eastern Cape) to Clayville (Gauteng) when angry people stopped me. From a distance, I thought it was an accident. When I got closer, they blocked the freeway with burning tyres.

“Vehicles in front and the back managed to make a U-turn and drive into the oncoming traffic. I couldn’t because this is a truck, and I can’t make a U-turn. They charged at my truck.

“I tried driving away. The road was too narrow to drive in the other direction. I quickly grabbed my bag, jumped out and fled for safety,” Mditshwa told News24.

“Some were carrying burning objects. Others went to the back, tore the trailers, and looted the vehicle. Few went to the front. One drove the truck and parked it in the middle of the road. I stood from afar and watched the entire ordeal.

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Read | Truck torched as violence erupts again in Vuwani

“My employer is aware of this. They said there was nothing I could do, except to escape the protesters. They saw everything from the camera mounted inside the truck. They are relieved that my life was spared.

“An alternative transport has been arranged for me.”

The leader of the hostel, Sibongiseni Khoza, complained that they were ignored by the government.

“We are alone. Our homes are falling. These buildings are cracking. We don’t have electricity, which we were promised a while ago.

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“We rely on communal toilets that are unhygienic. We are also struggling with water.

“We have about 4 000 people who are forced to use the bucket system. People have a right to be angry. I have been living here for 20 years.

“We demand the that City of Johannesburg, City Power, explain why we don’t have electricity,” said Khoza, who vowed that residents would continue protesting until their demands were met.

A female resident, who refused to be identified, said the place was unsafe at night.

“We can’t walk alone at night. There is no electricity. We live with our young children here. We are forced to live under these conditions. We still use the old bucket system. There are no changes here,” she said.

The spokesperson for the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD), Xolani Fihla, said the freeway was closed to traffic.

“Emergency services managed to extinguish the burning truck. A towing truck is on the scene to remove the truck. JMPD and SAPS officers are at the scene.

“They are engaging protesters, who are protesting over electricity. We urge motorists to avoid the scene and use alternative routes,” Fihla said.

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