AS IT HAPPENED: Protesting truck drivers head back out of Pretoria

2017-03-01 06:58

Traffic in central Pretoria has been disrupted by protesting truck drivers, who took their protest to the Union Buildings. Follow the latest updates here.

- Are you stuck in traffic, or affected by this? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.

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Last Updated at 08:59
01 Mar 15:41
A coal truck driver’s protest that caused traffic chaos in Pretoria on Wednesday went ahead "perfectly" and without incident, a spokesperson said.

01 Mar 15:34
Pretoria traffic now on Google Maps

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Hundreds of trucks caused chaos during morning traffic in Pretoria when they blocked highways. They have parked their trucks in Marabastad to march to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum about new independent power producers.

01 Mar 12:37
Thava Govender, Eskom group executive for transmission, sets the record straight on renewable energy.

01 Mar 12:37
Pic by Felix Dlangamandla

01 Mar 12:34
Aerial pic of Pretoria protest by Felix Dlangamandla 

01 Mar 12:34
Aerial pics of the truck protest in Pretoria by Felix Dlangamandla.  

01 Mar 12:30

01 Mar 12:20

We had permission to drive trucks into Pretoria CBD - Coal Forum

The Coal Transporters Forum (CTF) has denied "strongarming" its way into staging a protest on Wednesday morning.

The City of Tshwane was aware that it would be bringing over 100 of its trucks into the city centre, CTF spokesperson Mary Phadi told journalists.

"We did not strongarm anyone. We did an application. They have given us a permission to march today. We are expecting the security cluster to communicate," she said.

Phadi said their work was to bring the trucks into the city, on time and without incident.

At least 100 trucks blocked a number of highways into central Pretoria. The drivers hooted as they crawled into the CBD. Distressed commuters vented their frustration on social media.

01 Mar 12:19

01 Mar 12:09

The battle between coal and renewables 

News from Cabinet ministers that the government’s “flagship” Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPP) has to date unlocked R200bn in investment commitments and created more than 115 000 jobs over the lifespan of the projects, does not bode well for the coal truckers’ plight.

The coal truckers are protesting Eskom’s decision not to renew contracts with 48 transport companies because weak demand, slow economic growth and the introduction of new supply from independent producers has resulted in a 3 million metric-ton coal surplus.

Last month President Jacob Zuma said the power utility must sign agreements to buy power from private producers. Eskom had stalled the programme, saying it no longer requires additional renewable energy.

The coal truck drivers, who are blocking roads surrounding Pretoria, maintain that Eskom is too big to fail and is in position to say no to IPPs.

A plan by Eskom to close its Camden, Grootvlei, Hendrina and Kriel electricity plants by end-March 2020, will result in as many as 20 000 job losses, according to acting CEO Matshela Koko.

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Government commits to R200bn in IPP procurement

Government has committed to procure up to R200bn in renewable energy from independent power producers (IPPs), according to the National Budget tabled last Wednesday.

As at March 2017, exposure to IPPs – which represents the value of signed projects – is expected to amount to R125.8bn. Exposure is expected to decline to R104.1bn in 2019/20.

01 Mar 11:32

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01 Mar 11:24

Coal truckers demand slowdown in govt IPP programme  

Coal-truck drivers, who brought traffic to a standstill on roads surrounding SA’s capital, say the government has to own up to the unintended consequences of the renewable IPP programme.  

They are protesting Eskom’s decision to not renew their contracts because there is surplus electricity in the country.  

Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko told Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday the power utility won’t renew contracts with 48 transport companies because weak demand, slow economic growth and the introduction of new supply from independent producers has resulted in a 3 million metric-ton coal surplus.

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01 Mar 11:10
Latest Google Map of traffic situation in Pretoria. 

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01 Mar 10:10
Latest update on Google Maps shows traffic situation appears to be improving. 

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01 Mar 09:50

Motorists irate at truck blockade into Pretoria

Meetings will be missed and thousands will be late for work, but not all motorists are balling their fists at the truck driver blockade that brought Pretoria to a standstill on Wednesday.

Some slammed the truckers who caused chaos in the capital as inconsiderate, while others hailed it as a genius way to draw attention to their cause.

"It's inconvenient for everyone else traveling to Pretoria. But let's acknowledge the fact that it's peaceful," tweeted @smitj2.

Tshwane Metro Police senior superintendent Isaac Mahamba confirmed that there have been no incidents of violence, although he said the blockading of the major routes itself was illegal.

01 Mar 09:48

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01 Mar 09:43

Truckers 'driving slowly' into Pretoria - Coal Forum

Truckers are not blockading the roads into Pretoria, but "merely driving slowly" to ensure public safety as they make their way to Marabastad, the Coal Transportation Forum said on Wednesday.

The legal speed limit for trucks in the CBD was 20km/h and the forum had asked its drivers to slow down even more for the safety of other motorists, spokesperson Mary Phadi said.

Drivers appeared to be using their coal trucks to block routes, as a protest against the implementation of renewable energy projects.

01 Mar 09:30
Latest traffic map from Google Maps. 

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