At least 25 trucks have either been petrol bombed, burnt, shot at or stoned across the country since Thursday, with the Road Freight Association (RFA) saying police must gather intelligence and identify those inciting the violence for prosecution.
The association also called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to focus the security resources at his disposal to counter, prevent and prosecute those who sought to destroy the country.
Gavin Kelly, the association’s technical operations manager, said the attacks were uncalled for, irrespective of the concerns or complaints of the various parties perpetrating this violent attack on the logistics industry.
“The departments of Home Affairs and Labour need to exercise their mandate to ensure the laws of the country are complied with. The SAPS [South African Police Service] needs to gather intelligence, identify those who incite violence and investigate and prosecute those who do. This needs to end now,” he said.
He said the association, together with its union partners, had availed itself on numerous occasions to solve the issues.
Kelly said they did not have confirmed figures on the number of trucks damaged but said as of Monday, reports were that 25 trucks had been attacked.
“So far, thank goodness, no reports of any deaths. There are meetings scheduled for this week involving all the relevant government departments as well as the SAPS command. We have meetings, again, with the relevant parties in the labour arena. So far the attacks are continuing. Currently there is action at the harbour in Durban,” Kelly said.
According to RFA, at least nine trucks were set alight on the N3 highway near KwaZulu-Natal overnight on Sunday, with some drivers injured in the attack.
Reports were that a group of people used their vehicles to block the road at night and looted the trucks before setting them alight.
Kelly has been quoted as saying drivers were increasingly fearful for their lives and that drivers were randomly shot at, saying not only foreign drivers were under attack but local drivers as well.
All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), a group of local truck drivers advocating for 100% employment of locals, has distanced itself from the attacks but said it supported local drivers fighting for their jobs.
The organisation’s protests against the employment of foreign truck drivers by local freight companies have been marred by violence, with trucks forced off the road and torched.
Sifiso Nyathi, the organisation’s general secretary, says trucking companies lost nothing when their trucks were attacked, as they simply claimed from insurance.
The call to join a three-day national shutdown by SA truck drivers “to clean the industry” of foreign drivers has left the industry jittery, with lawyers demanding that ATDF commit not to organising, encouraging or participatin in the action.