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Protests Over Water Shortages Shut Longest South African Highway

Protests Over Water Shortages Shut Longest South African Highway

Part of South Africa’s longest highway, which runs from Cape Town to Zimbabwe, was shut on Monday by protesters who were demonstrating over water shortages.

The N1 highway was closed at Ventersburg, a town that’s about 240 kilometers (149 miles) south of Johannesburg, the South African Police Service said on Twitter.

The situation remains tense and the public order police unit is on the scene, police spokeswoman Loraine Earle said by phone. Motorists were advised to use alternative routes when traveling between Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, the capital of the central Free State province.

Many South African towns and cities are struggling to provide reliable basic services, such as water, electricity and sewerage, to residents after years of graft, underspending and financial mismanagement. That has added to discontent over high levels of inequality and poverty, and spurred violent protests aimed at attracting the authorities’ attention.

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News website Netwerk24 reported on Monday that people in parts of Ventersburg haven’t had water for almost a month due to aged infrastructure and rolling blackouts implemented by state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.

Bloomberg

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