The N2 freeway and municipal offices were closed at Plettenberg Bay early on Thursday after protests and overnight looting of businesses in the coastal town.
There has been simmering discontent in some communities over service delivery.
However, the Bitou municipality described several incidents during the early hours of the morning on Thursday as “rampant crime, accompanied by violence, looting, theft and vandalism”.
“All indications are that protests, mainly from the Qolweni community, will continue today. The SAPS indicated operations will be stepped up with extra resources to be deployed to manage the protests and crime with the view to open the N2 today,” the municipality said in a statement.
The N2 was closed between Shell Ultra City and Kwanokuthula. Overnight, the youth & sport development office was ransacked and set alight. A Usave grocery store and businesses in the town’s industrial area were also looted with damages and losses estimated to run into millions.
“In view of the ongoing impasse and the resulting safety risks to the staff, a directive has been issued that all offices will remain closed. We apologise to all our consumers unreservedly for the inconvenience suffered these past few days,” said the municipality.
“The overwhelming public evidence is that this is rampant crime, accompanied by violence, looting, theft and the vandalism, malicious damage of public and private property; with a total disregard of the losses and major inconvenience to business owners, their employees and families. These criminal actions are denounced in the strongest possible terms.”
A meeting between municipal officials and disgruntled community members failed to resolve the impasse after calls were made for three councillors to resign. The municipality said the deployment and recall of councillors was beyond its mandate.