aerial view of trucks blocking road in mbombela strike

Mbombela has been declared a no-go area this morning after protesting taxi drivers blockaded routes in and out of the Mpumalanga town.

Lowveld Security Joint Operation Command advised the public to avoid going into Mbombela CBD after taxi drivers allegedly hijacked trucks and used them to block major roads from the town.

Video footage has emerged online of the blockade on the busy N4 Toll Road from the Matsulu intersection.

The KaNyamazane intersection, the Karino intersection, Mattaffin, and the R40 from White River and Plaston to KaBokweni are also affected.

The latest petrol and diesel prices hikes which came into effect today triggered the protest which has been major talk on social media recently.

Motorists and commuters using public transport were left stranded as nothing moved in and out of the townships at KaNyamazane, Pienaar, KaBokweni, Msholozi and Barberton.

Foreign-owned businesses in some of these townships remained closed as they feared looting.

Read also: Massive fuel prices hike for July, both diesel and petrol going

Major petrol stations are also non-operational, also fearing for the worst.

Top Star Taxi Association’s chairperson, John Mavundla, told the Lowvelder that the association have not sanctioned such a protest and do not know anything about it.

Mavundla said they would, however, investigate the matter, and if their members were found to have instigated or taken part in the strike, appropriate and disciplinary actions will be instituted.

One of the truck drivers found at the Karino intersection said they were ambushed by armed men in the early hours of Wednesday and forced to surrender their trucks, which were used to block the roads.

He said after blocking the roads with their trucks, the protesters took the keys and made off.

Even though there is police presence in some parts of the Lowveld where the roads have been blocked, little can be done at this stage, since the trucks cannot be moved out of the way.

Fuel prices broke the R25 per litre mark for the first time in South Africa with the latest price hikes.

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