Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Monday, 10 June 2019, expressed disappointment at the ongoing trucking industry unrest in the KwaZulu-Natal province, which has seen 60 trucks burnt by angry mobs in recently.
The unrest continues despite government intervention in the long-standing impasse.
Last week, an inter-ministerial team of ministers met with stakeholders for three days to address the violent attacks and their impact on freight transport, particularly on the country’s N3 highway that leads to the Indian Ocean port of Durban.
“A plan was devised, which included the establishment of a multi-disciplinary rapid response team, the cessation of illegal employment of undocumented migrants, the implementation of skills development initiatives for local drivers, the creation of a database of unemployed drivers and a review of work permit legislation,” the minister said.
He added: “Despite the intervention, violence continues to flare, threatening to render the N3 unusable, a situation that is clearly unacceptable.
“We want no terror on our roads. Such activities do not only terrorise the freight sector but the general populace which uses our roads and is entitled to safe use, free of violence.”
The minister called for the strengthening of law enforcement along the highway and connecting routes.
Mbalula said the attacks on public roads must be upgraded to a higher category of criminality, especially since government was engaged to resolve the legitimate concerns of local drivers.
The drivers’ concerns are that most South African employees prefer employing foreign nationals to drive the trucks to avoid paying higher salaries to locals who earn three times more than the foreigners.