Truck owners have reportedly denied that they employ foreign nationals so that they can pay them meagre wages, Isolezwe reports.
The collective said during a media briefing on Wednesday that the foreign nationals they employ are documented and are in the country legally, and that they pay these drivers the same amount as their South African counterparts.
The media briefing was preceded by a meeting between the truck owners and Minister of Police Bheki Cele, Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant, Minister of Home Affairs Siyabonga Cwele and MEC for Transport and Safety in KZN Mxolisi Kaunda.
The ministers and provincial MEC were present at the briefing on Wednesday.
On the agenda was the recent blockading of trucks, which were set alight after the truck drivers had been ordered to get out of their vehicles.
It was reported that the perpetrators suspected that the truck drivers were foreign nationals.
Aven Naidu from Positive Freight Solutions said it is not against the law to employ a documented foreign national as a truck driver, what is against the law is to employ a foreign national who is in the country illegally.
Naidu was quoted as saying that truck driving needs experience and that as truck owners they need drivers with the necessary skills for the job, adding that it is true that if truck owners do not find a suitably qualified South African, they employ foreign nationals.
“Some employers have not employed foreign nationals but their trucks were torched,” Naidu said, adding that this would negatively impact on consumers.
He said the collective of truck owners were pleased with meeting with the ministers and provincial MEC and they hope a solution can be found.
Cele said an analysis should be done to determine whether truck driving is a skill of which there is a shortage in South Africa, prompting truck owners to employ foreign nationals.
However, he said although those who had taken part in the torching of trucks had grievances with employment patterns in the industry, their actions are against the law, adding that perpetrators would face the law.
“There are channels that can be followed to raise grievances, not breaking the law,” Cele was quoted as saying.
Kaunda said when a similar incident occurred last year, employees gave his department 47 names of companies that are said to employ foreign nationals.
The MEC said though investigations into the matter have not been concluded, his department has found that some companies do not follow procedures.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)