According to information, truckers experience already problems in various cities and towns in south Africa. Die aflewering van goedere word landwyd erg geraak. Daar is reeds trokke gebrand.
The Road Freight and Logistics sector truck drivers associations distanced themselves from the planned strike of the 1st and 2nd of September. However, acts of threats and violence including the burning of trucks took place.
It’s on this score that this Sunday evening, the Ministers of Employment and Labour , Police, Transport and Home Affairs convened an urgent meeting in order to receive a report on the progress made to address the continued violence in the sector as well as plotting a way forward.
The Ministers condemned the ongoing violence and agreed that it is nothing but economic sabotage threatening the economic viability of the SADC region. The meeting emphasised that the acts of sabotage are spearheaded by criminal elements that are responsible for the blockages, burning of trucks and assets, as well as the intimidation and killing of truck drivers in the sector.
The outcome of these discussions are as follows:
1. Law enforcement will ensure that the authority of the state is not undermined and increase visibility in violent hotspots.
2. The Ministers agreed that through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, regional counterparts should be engaged to address this matter.
3. There will be continuous joint inspections taking place in all provinces to ensure compliance in the sector.
4. The task team has agreed to develop a clear action plan and provide regular updates on the progress made to the joint inter-ministerial task team.
The meeting further noted that the events are turning more violent and criminal; the South African Police Service will continue to act against any acts of lawlessness. It is important to note that South Africa is not a xenophobic country and whoever is found on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with.
Truck drivers have been urged not to resort to violence ahead of a planned national strike on Monday. This after two trucks were set alight on the N3 in Ashburton and N2 near Portshepstone. Truck drivers are demanding employment, better working conditions and salary increments. They claim that foreign nationals are stealing their jobs as employers prefer them for cheap labour. Our reporter Sibongakonke Mbatha is on the line for us now. She was on the scene of those two trucks that were torched. This latest incident also comes ahead of a country-wide shutdown called by the National Truck Driver’s Foundation along major routes on Monday.
The International Cross-Border Traders Association says it believes that the on-going attacks of foreign drivers are criminal, as they have legal permits to be in South Africa. Members belonging to the National Truck Driver’s Foundation are calling on a nationwide strike on Monday, in response to trucking companies taking them to court for allegedly burning trucks.
Association President, Denis Juru says the Foundation is also lobbying against the alleged excessive employment of foreign nationals.
“We believe these are criminals. It is not an association because there’s no association that can strike against legal people. Those foreign nationals are legal. They have got valid permits and they have South African driver’s license. They are legal in South Africa.”
Juru adds that the on-going attacks on foreign drivers are putting South African businesses at risk.
“South Africa is going to isolated. There are so many South Africans who are studying in Africa. There are so many South African companies that are going to be affected. If they are going to continue with these attacks on foreign nationals we are going to stop all South African registered vehicles outside South Africa. They are not going to move, which means business will go down – South African economy will go down then we’ll see shortages of fuel shortages of basic commodities.”
Truck drivers have been cautioned not to resort to violence ahead of their national strike on Monday. This after two trucks were set alight on the N3 in Ashburton and N2 near Port Shepstone. A truck was reportedly stolen at dawn from a truck depot in Pietermaritzburg. The suspects fled with the truck and held the driver hostage and the truck was later set alight in Ashburton on the N3.
Truck drivers demand employment, better working conditions and salary increments. They claim that foreign nationals are stealing their jobs as employers prefer them for cheap labour.
The National Truck Drivers Foundation has condemned the burning of trucks in KwaZulu-Natal and secretary Siphesihle Muthwa has called for calm.
“We distance ourselves from any violence by the drivers. We plead to South African drivers not tarnish themselves in torching trucks to hurt foreign drivers because we are still in talks with government.”
The government says acts of criminality will not be tolerated. KwaZulu- Natal Department of Transport, Community Safety and Liaison spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa says, “ The law allows truck drivers to embark on a peaceful and legal strike but the burning of trucks is an act of criminality that the government strongly condemns.”
The government says workers plight has not fallen on deaf ears. A multidisciplinary team consisting of departments of labour, home affairs and police was set up by Police Minister Bheki Cele last year.
Drivers have been requested to remain patient as the government continues to work on lasting solutions to their plight.
Police in KwaZulu-Natal remains on high alert after the Sunday incidents.