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Trucker killed in Maluti-a-Phofung protests

The truck driver, 35, was from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape.
The truck driver, 35, was from Clanwilliam in the Western Cape.
Image: 123RF/ Lukas Gojda

A truck driver burnt to death when his vehicle caught fire after it was pelted with stones by protesters in Harrismith, Free State.

According to the police, a witness saw a person who was with a group of protesters throwing stones at the driver’s truck on Wednesday evening.  

“Apparently as a result thereof, the driver of the truck lost control and drove into the veld where the truck hit an embankment and caught fire,” said police spokesperson Col Thandi Mbambo.

She said when police arrived at the scene, they found the truck burning. They could not see the driver until the fire had subsided.

“They saw his body on the passenger seat of the truck, burnt to death.

“The owner of the company was traced and he identified the deceased as his 35-year-old employee residing at Clanwilliam in the Western Cape,” Mbambo said.

Police have opened a case of culpable homicide.

Mbambo said police were monitoring the protests, which started in the early hours of Monday morning in and around the Maluti-a-Phofung municipal area.

“These incidents resulted in a number of incidents which include a Maluti bus that was pelted with stones by protesters in Phuthaditjhaba last night [Wednesday].”

She said in Harrismith, 42 people had been arrested since Monday for public violence.

Of those, 15 of have appeared at the Harrismith magistrate’s court.

“The 27 remaining protesters are to appear in court soon,” Mbambo said.

She said protesters tried to close the N3 national road on Wednesday night with burning tyres, but police managed to control the situation.

“Traffic came to a halt for a little while so as to ensure safety of motorists and avoid vehicles being damaged.

“Currently the N3 and N5 are cleared and traffic is flowing. However, motorists are still urged to exercise caution as the situation keeps on changing,” Mbambo said.