The KwaZulu-Natal government has called on protesting truck drivers to stop sabotaging the economy as a means to voice grievances.
“We are currently in the process of rebuilding confidence in KwaZulu-Natal and repositioning it as a safe premiere investment and tourist destination,” said KZN transport, community safety and liaison MEC Peggy Nkonyeni.
Hundreds of truck drivers staged a massive blockade on national routes between the Durban harbour and along the N3 Van Reenen’s Pass as part of an ongoing dispute against the employment of foreign truck drivers.
“The blockade from the N3 Van Reenen’s Pass, amounts to an act of economic sabotage not only of the country but shuts down deliveries to our neighbouring countries,” warned Nkonyeni.
The blockade has led to a major traffic jam along the busy economic corridor linking KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Law-enforcement agencies, including members of the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the South African Police Service, are on scene to remove the trucks and allow the free flow of traffic.
The province said it was working with the Free State Province to find a solution to the issue.
Nkonyeni said every time the N3 was closed, the severe disruptions to the supply chains results in millions of rands being lost to the economy.
“Illegal acts such as blockading our arterial route only serve to erode such confidence and undo all the work of rebuilding the economy that has been undertaken so far.
“We, therefore, appeal to those taking part in this illegal protest to call it off immediately. No grievance is worth putting thousands of jobs at risk,” said Nkonyeni.
The provincial government urged disgruntled truck drivers to bring their issues to the negotiating processes currently underway with the government.
“We would like to appeal for calm and maximum restraint. Even the most intractable of problems can be solved through continuous negotiations,” she said.
“We wish to assure every citizen, business people, investors in our province that we are attending to the problem as a matter of urgency.”
Compiled by Narissa Subramoney