"I tell my family: don't touch me anymore, not until the coronavirus is gone. When I get home, I wash first. It is hard for my family. My son asks me – why do you not want to hug me?" says Kenneth Setati, a truck driver at Vector Logistics.
Life under lockdown is tough. It is especially tough for truck drivers delivering essential goods around the country. Kenneth Setati, who delivers frozen and chilled foods in the Limpopo province, is on the road five days a week. He shares his challenges as a truck driver in coronavirus times.
"Life on the roads is different now," says Kenneth. "I have clear roads ahead of me when I drive. It is a lot easier for me to drive, and I can deliver quicker. There is no traffic at all. I also see the police on the road every day, and there are a lot of roadblocks."
"Food is a major challenge while on the road," he says. "There are no prepared foods in the stores, so often we have to go without eating. Or we just eat bread. When your stomach is empty, it is difficult for your mind to function. Many public toilets, which were previously open, are also now closed".
Vector Logistics, his employer, has been supplying all its truck drivers with gloves, masks and hand sanitiser. "Management has been very supportive," says Kenneth. "Our manager meets with us every morning before we go out on the road," he says. "He talks to us about safety. He shares with us about distancing, sanitising and washing our hands. We listen, and we do this."
Kenneth Setati. Image: Vector Logistics
The company has also arranged transport for all drivers during lockdown so that they can travel to and from work with peace of mind.
Kenneth worries about spreading the virus to his family. He has a wife and two children (six years old and one-year-old).
"When I get home, I am stressed. I worry about whether I am carrying the coronavirus. I tell my family not to hug me anymore, not until the coronavirus is dead. This upsets my children – they are not used to this. I try my best to explain to them that, in time, this will pass and we will be able to touch each other and hug again".
Despite the challenging environment in which he currently drives, Kenneth is still passionate about the work he does. "I love my job. I love my work," he says.
His advice and wishes during lockdown is simple: "Please comply with what President Cyril Ramaphosa requests," he urges. "Stay home, and sanitise".
The Road Freight Association (RFA) admires and is grateful to the thousands of truck drivers across the country who are continuing to deliver much-needed essential goods during lockdown.
Wheels24 would like to send a shout of thanks and appreciation to all essential workers during this challenging time.