More needs to be done to safeguard transport sector - IFP after spate of attacks

One of the two trucks torched between eNseleni and eMpangeni on Tuesday. Picture: Supplied.

One of the two trucks torched between eNseleni and eMpangeni on Tuesday. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 16, 2023


Durban — The IFP has expressed its concern about the ongoing attacks on the trucking industry following a spate of attacks.

On Friday, IFP member on Transport in the National Assembly Khethamabala Sithole said the IFP notes with serious concern that over the past week, almost three dozen trucks were torched across South Africa.

Sithole said that on the N3 corridor between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, trucks were set on fire on Van Reenen’s Pass, which is a strategic economic route. In Mpumalanga, four trucks were burnt on Wednesday, July 12, taking the total of burnt trucks up to 20 in under a week.

“As the IFP, we must ask: what are the SA Police Services (SAPS) and Crime Intelligence planning to do about this violent onslaught on the trucking industry?” Sithole asked.

He said that according to Police Minister Bheki Cele, the National Intelligence Co-ordinating Committee (Nicoc) met during the week, the army would be deployed, and intelligence has been working to improve their lack of co-ordination.

“We do not believe that these vague assurances from the SAPS are enough, considering the gravity of this situation,” Sithole said.

“The trucking industry in South Africa provides an essential service, among others, ensuring food security and supplies to all areas of our country, rural and urban.

“The health of the trucking industry has a direct impact on the economy, particularly if one considers the sheer volume of goods transported each year, and the industry’s contribution to the economy,” Sithole said.

According to the Labour Research Service Transport Sector Report 2022, he said: “A recent estimate of the South African Department of Transport indicates that the transport, storage, and communication sector contributes 9.3% to South Africa's GDP, while transport alone contributes about 6.5%.”

Sithole said that clearly, more needs to be done to safeguard this sector, and soon.

“Thorough investigations must be done, to determine the root cause of this violence, and to bring these attacks to end,” Sithole said.

In the past, he said, there have been allegations that trucks driven by foreign nationals were targeted, yet during the most recent attacks in Gauteng, a South African businessman, who employs only South African drivers, also lost a truck.

He also said that Cele has shared reports of 12 alleged “persons of interest” that have been identified, and that “Evidence … points to organised co-ordinated and sophisticated operations that seek to undermine and sabotage the state.

“As the IFP, we, therefore, urge Minister Cele and Crime Intelligence to prioritise this ever-growing crisis and provide feedback on an action plan to safeguard the trucking industry from harm, with time frames and targets, before the end of the month,” Sithole said.

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