Government, trucking industry vow to curb violence in KZN

This truck carrying paraffin was set alight on the N3 toward Hilton, just past the Liberty Midlands Mall. (SHARIKA REGCHAND, file)
This truck carrying paraffin was set alight on the N3 toward Hilton, just past the Liberty Midlands Mall. (SHARIKA REGCHAND, file)

Several spheres of the government and trucking industry stakeholders have vowed to curb ongoing violence in KwaZulu-Natal that has caused untold economic damage in recent weeks.

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

Instructions for swift intervention appear to have come from President Cyril Ramaphosa himself.

"We were instructed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to leave our government lekgotla to resolve this. We must commend the president for showing such commitment. He said this is extraordinary and cannot be ignored," Cele told a large media contingent.

The intervention comes after at least 20 trucks per week were torched in the last three weeks, with 91 people being arrested by police.

READ: At least 20 trucks torched per week in KZN, say truck owners

The attacks are not new in the province, with assailants alleging that foreign nationals are given jobs as drivers ahead of locals.

Renewed interventions

Outlining interventions put in place, Premier Sihle Zikalala, who was also part of the high-level delegation on Monday, said that immediate changes were being implemented.

He added that rapid response would now be the order of the day.

"We will establish a rapid response team on the ground to ensure adequate policing. This will be done through the police commissioner, General Khela Sithole."

Zikalala said in instances where people were attacked, "cases should be followed and dealt with", adding that the illegal employment of drivers would also stop.

"Illegal employment must be stopped. People working illegally in SA who have no permits must stop."

Zikalala said they would implement a programme to develop the skills of drivers.

"They must undergo training and must be supported by the government. We will also establish a database of employed and unemployed drivers. This way, employers have a pool if they need to employ drivers."

PICS: Motorists cautioned after at least 4 trucks reportedly torched on N3 in KZN

At least 17 trucks were torched in KwaZulu-Natal over the past weekend, bringing many major highways to a standstill.

At one point, around 10 trucks per day were being torched.  

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