Working truckers tell of their fears

2009-04-09 00:00

Truck drivers who have been working during the current strike fear for their lives as they run the risk of being attacked by striking drivers.

The drivers The Witness spoke to yesterday, some of whom had just arrived from Botswana, said they were unaware that there would be a strike.

“We are at risk,” said a driver who asked not to be named. “When I get to Pretoria, I will leave the truck there and go back home to QwaQwa to be with my children,” he said.

The drivers said the fact that they are working does not mean they disagree with the strike.

“Our employers hide things from us. When we are attacked and the truck is damaged, they will be able to claim insurance. But where will my children get money from if I get killed? Our families will not get compensated,” said another driver. “We have to keep in contact with each other to find out what is happening.”

He said that they are not treated well by their company. “Some of us don’t get paid for cross-border deliveries. We only get R100 to buy food.”

They said they were going to go to Port Shepstone to carry on working. “If we encounter other truck drivers on the way, we will be attacked. If we are stopped, they will either force us to join the strike, or hit us.”

“Satawu should announce strikes a month in advance, not a week before, because those of us that are out of the country do not get informed,” they claimed.

One of the drivers claimed he had an altercation with striking drivers when they found him in his truck during the night. He said his hands were tied behind his back and that he had to tell he was unaware there had been a strike, since he has been out of the country.

“None of us like working under these conditions,” he said.

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