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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Another truck attack: Five carriers torched in Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga

Police say a Toyota Hilux bakkie and a sedan stopped the trucks before the Waterval Boven tunnel and set them alight.

Less than 24 hours after news broke of six trucks being torched on the N3 Van Reenen’s Pass in KZN, Mpumalanga police have confirmed that five trucks suffered the same fate on the N4 highway in the province.

“Five trucks were set alight yesterday evening at Waterval Boven, and currently, we don’t know the motive for setting those particular trucks alight,” said Mpumalanga police spokesperson Selvy Mohlala.

“Information at our disposal is that two vehicles, a Toyota Hilux bakkie and sedan, stopped those particular trucks before Waterval Boven tunnel and set them alight without telling the drivers what the motive was,” Mohlala said.

Investigations into the attack are underway.

“No one has been arrested, and we urge motorists to use the Schoemanskloof Road and avoid Waterval Boven.”

According to Patrick O’Leary, editor of FleetWatch magazine, the truck in Mpumalanga was torched at about 1am on Monday.

N4 closed

“There were numerous trucks that were burnt last night in Machadodorp in the Waterval Boven area on the N4. So, it happened again at about 1am.

“It could be some breakaway members who are just gatvol… No casualties, it was just an armed group of men. They stopped the trucks before the tunnel on the N4 heading towards Nelspruit. The armed men forced the drivers out and burned the trucks. The last time I heard five trucks were burning,” O’Leary told EWN.

The N4 has also been closed to traffic following the incident.

A caller told SAFM on Monday morning that another truck was torched on the N3 toll.

“One of the Zambia trucks not far from the Sasol garage as you go to Joburg, about 36km from Warden, there is a truck that is burning there…” the caller told the station.

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

Van Reenen protest

Meanwhile, an arson attack in the early hours of yesterday led to the N3 being temporarily closed at Van Reenen’s Pass after six trucks were set alight.

South African Police Services (Saps) said a gang of armed men forced six truck drivers to stop their vehicles on the Van Reenen’s Pass.

While it was unclear what motivated the arson attack on the heavy-duty carriers, officials believe it may relate to protests in the area.

N3 vital corridor

The N3 is a vital corridor between the port of Durban and the rest of SA. It is the busiest in the country – carrying higher volumes of traffic (freight, passenger and light motor vehicles for commercial, tourism and private use) than any other.

Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly said the immediate short-term losses would run into millions of rands, including the cost of vehicles, cargo, personal effects, road damage, emergency medical service response, delays in movement and shipping penalties.

Additional reporting by Lunga Simelane

ALSO READ: Arson attack on N3 sparks concerns for economy and trade

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