Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
20 Jun 2022
12:11 pm

N3 blockades: Here are the local truck drivers’ key demands

Citizen Reporter

The demands range from working conditions, employment of foreign nationals, and issues relating to professional driving permits.

Picture for illusration purposes. Photo: iStock

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to announce government’s action plan to deal with the grievances of truck drivers in the freight and logistics industryon Monday afternoon.

N3 blocks by truck drivers

This follows last week’s blockade of the N3 highway by disgruntled truck drivers who are demanding, among other issues, an end to the employment of all foreign nationals in the freight industry.

ALSO READ: N3 blocked by truck drivers, motorists urged to use alternate routes

The blockades that government has labelled as economic sabotage, have led to disruptions to the supply chains and freight logistics across the country and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region.

But truck drivers claim employers in the industry are overlooking local truck drivers for foreign drivers, whom they allegedly exploit and pay less in wages.

The long-standing grievances by the drivers have in the past turned into violence with some drivers being killed, either by being petrol bombed or being shot. Several trucks have also been set alight on the N3.

Action plan

In an effort to deal with the matter, an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Sunday met with all stakeholders in the freight and logistics industry to iron out the details of an action plan to end the blockading of national roads by truck drivers.

The IMC – led by Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi – includes the ministers of transport, home affairs and police.

The trucking industry is represented by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA), the Road Freight Association (RFA) and the Motor Transport Wokers Union (MTWU).

Speaking at a media briefing last Friday, Mbalula said all stakeholders had agreed on the action plan to finally settle the disputes by local truck drivers.

Some of the issues that were expected to form part of the plan to be announced on Monday included the enforcement of visas and work permits, as well as foreign driving licences.

Demands by truck drivers

Truck drivers have been blockading national roads to make their demands known to government and employers over their working conditions, employment of foreign nationals and issues relating to professional driving permits.

Here’s a summary of the demands by truck drivers:

  • The removal of all foreign national truck drivers from the road freight industry with immediate effect.
  • Drivers without valid work permits to be removed from trucks.
  • Validation and verification of immigration documents, work permits and foreign drivers’ licences.
  • The abolition of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) 12-month grace period, which ends on 31 December 2022.
  • National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI) to not register any foreign drivers.
  • All trucks registered in South Africa to be driven by South Africans only.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe

NOW READ: N3 protest: ‘We’re not sleeping on the job’ – Mbalula tells disgruntled truck drivers