As the National shutdown of truck drivers continues, unions continue to urge their members to stay home while trucks are torched on the N1 in Cape Town.
Two trucks were set alight in the early hours of Wednesday 8 July, with their charred remains blocking the roadway and preventing traffic from heading through freely.
TWO TRUCKS TORCHED
Provincial traffic spokesperson Kenny Africa said that the two trucks had been torched just after midnight.
“Round about 1.45 am this morning two trucks were set alight on the N1 between Klapmuts and Klipheuwel in the direction of Paarl,” he said.
“The road is currently still closed for traffic.”
Law enforcement agencies are monitoring national highways with a keen eye on Wednesday after truck drivers blocked the N1 in Cape Town, as well as the N7 before some of the vehicles were towed and impounded by authorities.
The SA Truckers twitter page reported on Wednesday that in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) there were four more trucks burnt on Wednesday morning on the N2 between Empangeni and the Engen One Stop.
“Truck burnt on N3 at Nottingham road – trucks blocking M25 KwaMashu Highway – Truck blocking N2/M4 split,” they wrote.
Truck driver strike 08/07/2020 morning update
– Trucks burnt on N2 between Empangeni and the Engen One Stop
– Truck burnt on N3 at Nottingham road
– trucks blocking M25 KwaMashu Highway
– Truck blocking N2/M4 split pic.twitter.com/XHo4KSw2zR
— SA Trucker (@rsa_trucker) July 8, 2020
TRUCK DRIVERS REFUSING TO WORK OVER HIRING OF FOREIGN NATIONALS
Despite the North Gauteng High Court issuing an interdict against the strike , truck drivers have downed tools and engaged in protest regardless, arguing that the industry is unsupportive of South African drivers and claiming that 90% of drivers employed in the sector are foreign nationals.
Gauteng Secretary of the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), Mandla Mngomezulu, said that the strike would go ahead but called for a stop to violence against truck drivers, with more than 70 trucks torched in KwaZulu-Natal in 2019.
“The truck drivers are refusing to work,” said Mngomezulu.
“The violence must stop and maybe the minister can say something that’s positive.”
He said that the union would continue to encourage truck drivers to stay home, and called for Labour and Employment minister Thulas Nxesi to provide a concrete solution that might stem driver’s anger.
“We asked drivers yesterday [Tuesday 7 July] to stay at home. We are saying they should stay away and sit at home.”
“Maybe the minister will come up with something.”
NXESI DISAGREES WITH UNIONS
Nxesi spoke to eNCA on Wednesday, saying that he disagreed with the assertion that the sector should refrain from employing foreign nationals. He said that they too have a right to emolument in South Africa.
“Those who are refugees have a right in this country to employment,” said Nxesi.
“We have agreed that the Task Teams are going to continuously meet under the leadership of the ministry, meeting every week and fast racking issues of immigration policies.”
GOVERNMENT CONDEMN DIVISIVE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS
Government have finally come to the party and voiced their concern over the violence being perpetuated against truck drivers, and called for social media posts that are sowing discord between foreign nationals and South Africans to stop immediately.
“Government notes the content of a poster circulating on social media which seeks to sow discord among South Africans and foreign nationals living together in communities,” government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.
“Government strongly condemns the violence that is mooted and calls on all South Africans to desist from any actions that go against the laws of the country. It is unfortunate that such messages are intended to sow divisions among South Africans and foreign nationals.”
Williams said that law enforcement need to
police the escalating situation effectively and ensure that constitutional laws of South African democracy are upheld.
“Government calls on the law enforcement agencies to take the necessary action against those responsible,” she said.
“Any attack on property and foreign-owned business are not reflective of who we are as a country and violates the values that we embody. South Africa is a constitutional democracy which is governed by the laws of the country,” said Williams.