The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Tuesday called for the urgent deployment of the army to high-risk spots on the N3 highway in KwaZulu-Natal following the petrol bombing of several trucks.
Three trucks were set alight on Monday on the N2 near the Umgeni Interchange, in Pietermaritzburg and on the N3 highway Mooi River Toll Plaza.
Positive Freight Solutions forum, which represents nearly 3,000 truck owners, said more than 60 trucks were burnt in the past three weeks.
The attacks are believed to be related to the high number of foreigners being employed as opposed to local unemployed drivers, which the local trucking industry has been raising for a number of months.
Steven Moodley, IFP spokesperson on transport in KZN, said it was time that government regarded the torching of trucks as a crisis and intervened by deploying the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to effectively deal with those responsible.
Moodley said the IFP believed that “terrorists” could no longer be allowed to continue sabotaging and holding the economy to ransom.
“There is no possible justification for this gratuitous destruction of property and the government must act decisively and deal with those involved. We cannot simply sit back and be spectators while the economy of our province is at risk,” Moodley said.
“The IFP is of the view that the dismal failure of the former minister of transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, the KZN MEC of transport, Mxolisi Kaunda, and the former KZN premier to deal decisively with truck driver’s grievances and their casual attitude towards solving this issue when it first started has led to this crisis.
“We strongly urge the newly elected government officials not to continue the culture of knee-jerk reactions when it comes to providing urgent solutions.”
Moodley said the IFP reiterated its call for stringent verification of truck drivers, especially foreign nationals, and urged employers to work towards speedily resolving the grievances of truck drivers whose main complaint was the employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry.
Several ministers, owner representatives, and labour leaders met in Durban on Monday to address the escalation in attacks on trucks and drivers in the province.
These included KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi, and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole.
– African News Agency