SA trucker strike called off?

02 September 2019 | Transport

There seems to have been an agreement to halt the trucker strike that was slated to take place today in South Africa, according to a joint media release by transport and logistics industries in that country.

The press statement, seen by the Namibian high commissioner to South Africa, Veiccoh Nghiwete, states that any individual found to be perpetrating any unlawful activity will be immediately arrested and prosecuted for their crime with a zero-tolerance approach.

Nghiwete urged all the affected players in this industry to closely monitor the situation.

“No one can afford to act blindly in any situation of this nature,” he said.

The statement says the decision to halt the strike was agreed to by all parties following an urgent meeting with the Technical Road Freight Industry Task Team in Durban. According to the statement the meeting was chaired by the office of the premier and attended by representatives of the Department of Labour, the Road Freight Bargaining Council, the National Truck Drivers Association (NTDF), All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), Positive Freight Solutions (PFS) and Harbour Carriers as well as the South African Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority.

In the meantime, countries in the region have warned their truck drivers to stay off the South African roads this week.

On Friday the South African online newspaper IOL reported that the International Cross-Border Traders Association (ICTA) had urged the South African government to protect foreign bus and truck drivers amidst threats of violence from their local counterparts who accuse the immigrants of taking their jobs.

IOL quoted ICTA president Denis Juru as saying: “We warn the South African government to protect foreign nationals in their country. We have previously witnessed foreign nationals getting killed, assaulted and threatened without a single person being arrested or prosecuted. South Africa is not an island in heaven. The government should respect rights of foreign nationals.”

Ronnie Varkevisser of the Namibia Manufacturing Association has also urged Namibian truckers to take the necessary precautions when they are on South African roads.

Transport minister John Mutorwa said his office would have a response on the matter today.

JEMIMA BEUKES