Jean-Jacques Cornish

Protestors block highway with hijacked beer truck and escape with contents

South African demonstrators protesting against government’s failure to keep its electoral promises have hijacked a brewer’s truck and used it to blocked a highway south of the commercial capital Johannesburg.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters on the highway in the Meyerton area who made off with the beer on the truck.

Residents of the Sicelo informal settlement took their protest to the R59 highway which they blocked with burning tyres.

They then parked the hijacked truck across the road and made off with its contents and keys.

Police communications officer Mavela Masondo said they were doing everything possible to clear the highway which was closed during the morning rush hour.

The so-called service delivery protest is South African political parlance for demonstrations against government’s failure to distribute basic resources citizens depend on like water, electricity, sanitation infrastructure, land, and housing.

This has been a commitment  of successive African National Congress government since the onset of democracy 24 years ago.

The disruptive action flies in the face of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s promise at  various international fora – most lately the G7 in Canada – that South Africa is an excellent investment destination.

Service delivery protests traditionally increase in number and intensity as the winter cold bites in unheated informal settlements.

With elections less than a year away, the ANC, is being careful to use minimum force to contain the demonstrations.

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Jean-Jacques Cornish is a journalist and broadcaster who has been involved in the media all his adult life.

Starting as a reporter on his hometown newspaper, he moved briefly to then Rhodesia before returning to South Africa to become a parliamentary correspondent with the South African Press Association. He was sent to London as Sapa’s London editor and also served as special correspondent to the United Nations. He joined the then Argus group in London as political correspondent.

Returning to South Africa after 12 years abroad, he was assistant editor on the Pretoria News for a decade before becoming editor of the Star and SA Times for five years.

Since 1999 he’s been an independent journalist writing and broadcasting – mainly about Africa – for Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape
Talk, Radio France International, PressTV, Radio Live New Zealand, Business Day, Mail & Guardian, the BBC, Agence France Press,
Business in Africa, Leadership, India Today, the South African Institute for International Affairs and the Institute for Security Studies.

He has hosted current affairs talk shows on Talk Radio 702 and 567 Cape Talk. He appears as an African affairs pundit on SABC Africa and CNBC Africa.
He lectured in contemporary studies to journalism students at the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of Pretoria.

He speaks on African affairs to corporate and other audiences.
He has been officially invited as a journalist to more than 30 countries. He was the winner of the 2007 SADC award for radio journalism.

He’s been a member of the EISA team observing elections in Somaliland, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Egypt and Tunsiai.

In October 2009 he headed a group of 39 African journalists to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

In January 2010 he joined a rescue and paramedical team to earthquake struck Haiti.

He is immediate past president of the Alliance Francaise of Pretoria.

Jean-Jacques is a director of Giant Media. The company was given access to Nelson Mandela in his retirement years until 2009.
He is co-producer of the hour-long documentary Mandela at 90 that was broadcast on BBC in January 2009.