Trucking crisis: call for urgent action from police minister

05 June 2019 | Web Article Number: ME201914742

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THE Road Freight Association (RFA) has called for urgent intervention by the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, to secure the safety of drivers, vehicles and premises.

“Since March 2018, a targeted attack on the freight industry has been orchestrated by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) and its allies, in the name of foreign drivers ‘stealing their jobs’,” the RFA said in a statement issued earlier this week following a recent resurgence in attacks, most of them along the crucial N3 logistics corridor linking Durban and Johannesburg.

“There are verified reports of blatant intimidation, bullying and the threatening of drivers and companies who do not meet the demands of the ATDF and its allies. These demands are the immediate firing of all or any foreign nationals employed in a company, the immediate employment of individuals supplied by the ATDF, payment to the ATDF of R350 per person per month for each individual supplied by the ATDF and control over who a company employs.”

According to the RFA, companies who do not comply are threatened with retaliation and the burning of trucks. Recently, shots have been fired at trucks.

It estimated that the the campaign had resulted in the damage or total destruction of 1 200 vehicles from bakkies to large trucks as well as the loss of of 213 lives. It also put the cost to the national economy at close to R1.2 billion in lost income for businesses, drivers and their families, and loss of and damage to vehicles, cargo, and infrastructure, including roads, offices and depots.

“Some businesses will be forced to close down due to losses.”

The RFA urged Cele to prevent any further incidents by utilising the police’s intelligence capacity, to arrest all perpetrators of the attacks and their known leaders and re-iterate government's view that this is economic sabotage and that criminals will be harshly dealt with.

It also called for the creation of a national task team to combat the attacks.

“Should there be no satisfactory evidence that the above is being implemented, the RFA reserves its rights to take whatever action is necessary to get government to take action.

“Should such a situation present itself, we will require that each and every transporter join us in solidarity in whatever actions we then take to safeguard our employees, our businesses and the economic future of our country,” the association said, without giving any details of what actions it envisaged.

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