South Africa: Repairs to Flood-Damaged Road Near Port St Johns Halted Amid Fiery Jobs Dispute

Port St Johns flood damage road repairs were disrupted earlier this month when residents of a nearby village vandalised renovations on the R61 to Mthatha after learning they would not be offered jobs on the road project.

Work on the R61 to the popular seaside town of Port St Johns was brought to a standstill earlier in November as residents of a nearby village demolished repairs in protest at not being offered jobs on the project.

Residents from Dangwana village dug up the tarred road near their homes when they were not included in the SA National Roads Agency (Sanral) project.

The R61 was badly damaged by heavy flooding after torrential downpours in March.

Angry at not being given jobs on the flood repair project, Dangwana residents dug up sections of the newly tarred road and set tyres alight.

Some residents told Daily Maverick there were skilled workers among them with experience in road construction, but that they were allegedly excluded deliberately. These included pipe layers, workers with safety officer qualifications and security guards.

The residents also accused the local councillor, certain traditional leaders and Sanral officials of not consulting them on the project before hiring workers.

Residents said that 80% of the hired workers were from villages that fell under the Mrhuleni administration area, while 20% were from the Ntsimbini and Mnatusini administration areas. They claimed that only two people from Dangwana village were given jobs....

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