Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
27 Oct 2021
1:19 pm

Mbalula to address truck drivers after disruptive N3 protests

Citizen Reporter

Eight people were arrested on the N3 in Harrismith on Tuesday.

Truck drivers protesting on the N3 near Harrismith on 26 October 2021. Picture: Facebook/SA Trucker

Following protests demanding to discuss the hiring of foreign truck drivers with Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula since Monday, a media briefing has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. 

Protests reached boiling point on Tuesday, with about 30 drivers obstructing both sides of the N3 with the trucks. 

This resulted in vehicles being backed up for more than a kilometre.

Drivers in the Eastern Cape were even prevented from driving on the N9 and N10 highways outside Middelburg on Tuesday as part of the demonstrations. 

Mbalula met with protesting drivers on Monday and accepted their memorandum of demands, agreeing to set up a technical team to engage with government on the issues facing drivers. 

ALSO READ: Two die in crash on blocked N5 as truck drivers protest leaves N3 backed up

Arrests made 

Harrismith police confirmed on Tuesday they had arrested eight people on the N3 near Swinburne Farm for obstructing road users from freely using a national road. 

When police arrived at the scene, they negotiated with drivers and warned them to remove their trucks. However, negotiations were unsuccessful, and drivers were given half an hour to remove their trucks. 

Police said the drivers then took their keys and left their trucks on the road. 

In addition to working with towing services to remove the trucks, they arrested a number of suspects, who are expected to appear before the Harrismith Magistrates Court soon. 

They are facing public violence charges, and are being charged under the National Road Traffic Act.

Truck on fire 

In addition to the chaos, a petrol tanker was ablaze on the N12 east near Daveyton in Ekurhuleni on Tuesday night. 

The Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) said the cause of the fire was not yet known, but that the incident resulted in the road being closed to traffic in both directions. 

On Wednesday morning, the remains of the wreckage were still evident. It is not yet clear if the road has reopened. 

Compiled by Nica Richards. Additional reporting by Gareth Cotterell

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