12 truckers to remain behind bars over N3 blockade in KZN

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Twelve truck drivers were arrested on Friday after parking their trucks across the N3, at Van Reenen's Pass.
Twelve truck drivers were arrested on Friday after parking their trucks across the N3, at Van Reenen's Pass.
  • Twelve suspects accused of using trucks to block the N3 freeway appeared in Ladysmith Magistrate's Court on Monday.
  • They have been charged with contravention of the Road Traffic Act.
  • The group will appear again on Friday, 13 December for their formal bail application.

Twelve suspects, the majority of whom are truck drivers, accused of blocking the N3 freeway last week, are still behind bars after briefly appearing in the Ladysmith Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The group stand accused of stopping their trucks and blocking the roadway, while also allegedly intimidating other truck drivers whose keys they stole while disrupting traffic.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said the group were charged with contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

"[The charges relate] in particular stopping on freeway without a lawful cause."

Kara said the group would return to court on 10 December for a formal bail application. The blocking of the N3 freeway, a vital bridge between the Port of Durban and inland provinces, had become more regular and violent in recent years.

Gavin Kelly, the CEO for the Road Freight Association (RFA) said the transport and logistics industry was held captive "by those who prefer to work outside the law".

READ | UPDATE: Recovery operations begin as trucks blocking the N3 get towed

In a previous statement, Kelly said violence and looting occurred while individuals "have taken the law into their own hands to pull drivers from trucks to check their personal documents".

He said law abiding transporters were subjected to criminality.

"The Road Freight Association (RFA) has called on government again and again to do what is necessary. They must deal with those who see themselves above the law - arrest, detain and investigate the inciters, those who perpetrate these acts, and those who take it upon themselves to act like police or authorities of the state."

He said those employers who "continue to break the law", were not registered with the various authorities as required by legislative prescripts. He said these illegal groups employ individuals at rates below industry minimum.

While the illegal blocking occurred on Friday morning leading to traffic congestion, by the afternoon, traffic near Van Reenen's Pass was at a complete standstill.

Trucks had to be towed out of the roadway before police made the 12 arrests.

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