South Africa gangs block highway with burning lorries

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SOUTH AFRICA (bbc.com) – The fight-back against Chad poachers. A private, non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been credited with helping to turn around the fortunes of Zakouma National Park in Chad.

The BBC Travel Show’s Michelle Jana Chan finds out more: The lorry blockade on a major South African route between its two largest cities of Johannesburg and Durban seems to have been caused by anger at trucking firms reportedly employing foreigners as cheap labour.

Many lorries were seen burning near the Mooi River tollgate on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal.

Col Thembeka Mbele told me:

The Mooi River community said they were protesting against truck owners hiring only foreigners.”

At least 50 people have been arrested, including some lorry drivers.

The protesters were initially complaining about poor working conditions, which they said the migrants had accepted.

South Africa has seen its fair share of xenophobic violence in the past. Its worst outbreak of violence against foreigners was in 2008, when more than 60 people died.

Many unemployed South Africans accuse migrants of taking their jobs.

But there is no evidence to show that any foreigners were targeted specifically because of their citizenship this time around.

Ishmael Mnisi, from the national transport department, told me the protests overnight were similar to those over the Easter weekend in the same area.

He said violence and looting were criminal offences and if anyone had labour-related complaints, channels were already in place to deal with such disputes. The N3 route has now partially re-opened.

Authorities in Burundi have arrested a ruling party official after he called on supporters to throw political opponents into a lake, a source has told Reuters news agency.

“We said that we have ordered boats. We will send them (opponents) into Lake Tanganyika,” Melchiade Nzopfabarushe said in a video clip.

Mr Nzopfabarushe made the comments to party members in his home village near the capital Bujumbura in a rally on Sunday, Reuters reports.

He was campaigning for a referendum on 17 May, when people will vote on whether to extend the president’s term from five years to seven, which could potentially extend President Pierre Nkurunziza’s rule to 2034.

The ruling party said on Twitter it rejected “any subversive message which may jeopardise unity and cohesion among the Burundian people”.

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