MKMVA regional leader backs campaign against foreign truck drivers

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MKMVA Moses Mabhida region leader Babsy Sithole, has come out in defence of the protest against foreign truck drivers.
MKMVA Moses Mabhida region leader Babsy Sithole, has come out in defence of the protest against foreign truck drivers.
Moeketsi Mamane

Moses Mabhida region’s Mkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) leader, Babsy Sithole, is at the forefront of the current protests against foreign national truck drivers.

The protest has intensified in Durban in recent weeks and there has been a spate of attacks on foreign national truck drivers across the country.

While Sithole on Friday denied that the protest had been engineered by the MKMVA, he conceded that the organisation was sympathetic to local truck drivers who were currently “unemployed” due to the influx of foreign national drivers in the freight industry.

“What we have done as MKMVA was to join hands with the local truck drivers who for years had been struggling to get this important matter resolved. “In almost all African countries, including those outside the continent, no foreign national is allowed to drive a local truck. Yet in our own country, the majority of truck drivers are foreign nationals, with most of our local drivers now unemployed as a result,” he said.

“These protests have the potential to destroy South Africa’s reputation and derail government’s economic recovery efforts.”
Labour and employment minister, Thulas Nxesi

Last Sunday a Pinetown truck driver was found murdered in Alberton in Johannesburg.

Labour and employment minister, Thulas Nxesi, who has condemned the protest, yesterday revealed that the demonstrations had resulted in 84 attacks on trucks and drivers since April.

“These protests have the potential to destroy South Africa’s reputation and derail government’s economic recovery efforts,” he said.

Nxesi is part of a team of ministers including KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, which was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to resolve the current instability within the freight sector.

Apart from Nxesi and other government leaders who have criticised the role of MKMVA in the protests, several other organisations have also criticised Sithole and the other protestors.

“Yes, it is true that we were hosted by countries such as Angola, Uganda and Zambia. But, we lived in camps and never competed with locals for jobs.”
MKMVA leader, Babsy Sithole

Africa Solidarity Network secretary-general, Danial Dunia, who described the MKMVA’s campaign as “xenophobic violence” said it was unacceptable that the former soldiers were turning against the very same people who hosted them in their countries during the liberation.

However, Sithole, who is based in Imbali, was unrepentant.

“Yes, it is true that we were hosted by countries such as Angola, Uganda and Zambia. But, we lived in camps and never competed with locals for jobs. In any case, our campaign is not against Africans, it is against all foreign nationals, including Europeans and Asians who are doing wrong things in the country. Most of the foreign nationals working in this country don’t have work permits and other documents allowing them to do such kind of work. Our campaign is also focusing on foreign nationals involved in drug trafficking and other forms of crime,” he said.

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While Sithole claims to be the MKMVA’s interim chairperson regional chairperson, some MKMVA members, including the organisation’s provincial chairperson, Themba Mavundla, have disputed Sithole’s claims.

Sithole on Friday insisted that he was the legitimate MKMVA regional leader.

“The truth is that I was elected during a meeting where all MKMVA zones (branches) in the Moses Mabhida region were represented,” he said.

Sithole’s rival, Mzo Kheswa, who also had been claiming to be the legitimate MKMVA regional leader, died of natural causes last week.

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