Resting truckers cleared from N3

2008-02-06 00:00

Ninety trucks, parked while their drivers slept on the side of the N3 near Ladysmith, were taken off the highway during the early hours of yesterday morning by police who were staging a massive crackdown to reduce crime targeting the heavy vehicles.

Captain Charmaine Struwig said yesterday that the operation involved members of the police, Road Traffic Inspectorate, Public Safety, and an Immigration officer and aimed to reduce the opportunities for crimes such as robbery, hijacking and thefts from motor vehicles, which were created by truck drivers parking illegally along the N3 overnight.

"During the operation, 90 trucks were removed from the N3 while 42 summonses were issued to truck drivers for various traffic-related offences," Struwig said.

She warned that more of the disruptive action is planned for the future along this same route.

Meanwhile, police have once again cautioned truckers not to park their trucks near the N3 in Hilton after three trucks were targeted by criminals there in January.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan told The Witness that despite numerous warnings as well as signs explaining the dangers, truck drivers continued to park in vulnerable places near the Hilton off-ramp, while they rested and slept.

This was confirmed by the chairman of the Hilton CPF, Mduduzi Mjwara, who said that they have now resorted to asking the Transport Department to assist in the matter.

"We decided to call the department in, and hope that they will erect barriers to prevent drivers from stopping there." He said that fines from police had not deterred the drivers who stop to sleep.

"In many cases, the drivers are not aware that they have been the target of thieves until they reach their destination and find that their cargo has gone," he said.

He also expressed concern about the hazard the trucks pose to other drivers while stationary, especially in heavy mist, which often blankets the area.

Jeevan said that she did not believe that the current incidents were the work of a syndicate.

"This appears to be random, opportunistic crime," said Jeevan.

She said that in most cases the cargo was stolen, but that drivers had been held up and hijacked of their vehicles too.

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