Violent truck attacks: Ministers convene urgent meeting to plot way forward

This is what was left after a truck was torched on the N3 near Ashburton. (File, Facebook)
This is what was left after a truck was torched on the N3 near Ashburton. (File, Facebook)

The Ministers of Employment and Labour, Police, Transport and Home Affairs convened an urgent meeting on Sunday evening to discuss the continued violence in the trucking industry and to plot a way forward.

In a joint statement, the ministries noted that incidents against drivers and their vehicles were turning more violent and criminal.

There are rumours of a planned strike in the industry on Monday and Tuesday, which the Road Freight and Logistics sector truck drivers associations have distanced themselves from. 

In June, at least 20 trucks per week were torched in the space of three weeks, News24 reported.

High-level meetings between truck owners, drivers and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Police Minister Bheki Cele were held in Durban at the beginning of June.

Police have since arrested 91 people following the previous attacks. 

News24 has reported on several violent incidents in the past few months, including bricks that were hurled through the window of an Eastern Cape driver's truck; a delivery truck that was petrol bombed in Somerset West; and a driver who died of his injuries after his truck was petrol bombed near Touws River.

The ministers condemned the ongoing violence and agreed that it was nothing but economic sabotage threatening the economic viability of the SADC region.

"The meeting emphasised that the acts of sabotage are spearheaded by criminal elements that are responsible for the blockages, burning of trucks and assets, as well as the intimidation and killing of truck drivers in the sector," the joint statement read.

The ministers agreed on several things, including increasing the visibility of law enforcement in violent hotspots.

Though the department of international relations and cooperation, regional counterparts would be engaged to address ongoing issues in the industry.

"There will be continuous joint inspections taking place in all provinces to ensure compliance in the sector," the ministries said.

"The task team has agreed to develop a clear action plan and to provide regular updates on the progress made to the joint inter-ministerial task team."

The meeting further noted that the events are turning more violent and criminal; and that the South African Police Service will continue to act against any acts of lawlessness.

"It is important to note that South Africa is not a xenophobic country and whoever is found on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with," the statement read.

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