'The drivers are fed up' - Truckers' protest causes backed up traffic on N3 highway in Harrismith

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Truck drivers protested on the N10 outside Middelburg in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.
Truck drivers protested on the N10 outside Middelburg in the Eastern Cape on Sunday.
Supplied
  • A protest by truck drivers has seen the N3 highway near Harrismith closed.
  • The closure has seen traffic backed up for over a kilometre in both directions.
  • Drivers are protesting the employment of foreign nationals in the sector.


The N3 highway has been blocked near Harrismith as part of a national protest by truck drivers.

According to Thania Dhoogra, operations manager for the N3 Toll Concession, the highway has been blocked near Montrose in the Free State.

Dhoogra said:

Truck drivers are obstructing the N3 Toll Route in both directions near Montrose. Law enforcement has been deployed and are currently monitoring the situation.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele confirmed that around 30 truck drivers had parked their trucks on the N3, "closing the road totally".

"They are demanding to see [Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula]. Their main grievance is foreign truck drivers being allowed to drive trucks in the country. The drivers are peaceful and just standing around. No acts of violence have been reported," he said.

Makhele could not confirm who was leading the protest.

The protest has been causing extensive traffic backlogs between Montrose and Harrismith, as well as delays northbound towards Gauteng at Tugela Plaza.

'Drivers are being exploited'

"Road users are advised to delay travel to the area (between Tugela Plaza and Harrismith) until further notice," said Dhoogra.

Traffic was backed up for at least a kilometre in both directions, Makhele added.

He said:

Public Order Police [have been] deployed, and some trucks are starting to move.

According to All Truck Drivers Foundation (ADTF) secretary-general Sifiso Nyathi, the nationwide shutdown by local truck drivers is aimed at forcing freight companies to stop employing foreign nationals.

He said ATDF was not behind the protect action, which the truck drivers themselves allegedly organised, but added that the organisation did support the mass action.

"South African drivers are being exploited. The [freight company] owners want to hire foreigners for less," he said.

"It's a shame. Trucking is a scarce skill. The drivers are fed up. They don't even want to listen to us as leaders."

READ | Interdict granted against truck driver strike over employment of foreign nationals

In June 2020, ATDF threatened a national strike to protest claims that foreign nationals were being employed by the industry instead of local drivers. At the time, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted an interdict against the planned strike, restraining ATDF and Nyathi from organising, encouraging or inciting any protest action. The ATDF said it was not involved in the June protests, despite the interdict.

The protest began on Sunday in other provinces. In the Eastern Cape, truck drivers were prevented from travelling on the N10 highway outside Middelburg.

We want to hear your views on the news. Subscribe to News24 to be part of the conversation in the comments section of this article.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Matric results are out! Are you happy with your child's result?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
No, the pandemic really messed up their ability to focus
29% - 31 votes
Yes, they did well given the circumstances
71% - 77 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.12
+0.8%
Rand - Pound
20.51
+1.0%
Rand - Euro
17.15
+0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.88
+1.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.5%
Gold
1,839.38
0.0%
Silver
24.47
-0.0%
Palladium
2,084.50
+0.9%
Platinum
1,037.00
-0.6%
Brent Crude
88.38
-0.1%
Top 40
68,168
-2.0%
All Share
74,834
-1.8%
Resource 10
74,856
-3.0%
Industrial 25
94,128
-1.8%
Financial 15
15,093
-0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE