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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


KZN premier says torching of trucks could cost SA up to R60 million

The eight trucks were set alight in two separate attacks on the N3 toll route in KwaZulu-Natal.


The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government has condemned the torching of eight trucks in the province, labelling the attacks an act of sabotage.

The trucks were set alight in two sperate attacks on the N3 toll route in Van Reenen’s Pass and Empangeni.

Empangeni

The trucks in Empangeni were torched at 10pm on Monday night while they were waiting on the N2 highway.

“It is alleged that armed men attacked the drivers of the two trucks and robbed them of their belongings. The men were forced out of the trucks before the trucks were set alight,” said KZN police spokesperson Jay Naicker.

Van Reenen’s Pass

A day earlier, the N3 toll road heading towards Johannesburg from Durban was closed after six trucks were set alight.

The police said a gang of armed men forced six truck drivers to stop their vehicles on the Van Reenen’s Pass section of the road before setting them alight.

Six other trucks were also attacked and torched on the N4 in Mpumalanga.

ALSO READ: N3 Toll: Van Reenen’s Pass closed after trucks torched

Economic sabotage

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube has condemned the attacks on the trucks.

“We would like to use this opportunity to condemn in the strongest terms what is an act of sabotage aimed not only at the road freight industry, but which seeks to paralyse the whole economy of South Africa.

“These main arterial highways are really our backbone for our economy in our country. It is estimated by the industry itself that the six-hour shutdown in Van Reenen’s Pass alone could have cost anything close to R60 million upwards, including the loss of income and salaries, as a result of this shutdown,” Dube-Ncube said.

No stone unturned

Dube-Ncube said the provincial government has urged law enforcement agencies to leave “no stone unturned” to bring the perpetrators to book.

“We’ve also asked all other law enforcement agencies including our road freight industry as well as the RTI to also use the camera infrastructure that we have available to trace and track those that might be responsible for this sabotage of our economy.

“It is also time perhaps that our country takes a much tougher stand against those who express themselves by shutting down our national roads in order to resolve the shop floor matter. That can be resolved amicably through the legislated negotiated processes that we have been using all these other years,” Dube-Ncube said.

Police briefing

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Police and the South African Police Service (Saps) management will on Wednesday, 12 July 2023, brief the nation on the police’s response to acts of violence targeting freight trucks in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the briefing will be attended by the provincial commissioners of the affected provinces.

“They will provide updates on the police’s response to the acts of criminality as well as plans in place to track down the culprits and bring them all to book,” Mathe said.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Truck attacks continue; carriers torched on N2 towards Empangeni

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