The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has called on an urgent debate in the KZN Legislature on the poor working conditions of truck drivers in South Africa.
This comes after 17 truck-and-trailer rigs were torched on the N3 recently and three others were set ablaze on the N3 in Gauteng.
The party said it tabled a written motion in the provincial legislature, calling for an urgent debate on poor working conditions of South African truck drivers.
IFP KZN MPL Blessed Gwala said: “The IFP believes that if this matter continues to be overlooked by government, the violent protests will paralyse the entire transport sector in South Africa. This situation will continue to impact negatively on South Africa’s economy and the ability to freely trade locally and internationally. As a country, we had been trying to woo international investors, however, such incidents work against any progress that may have been made.”
Gwala added that “better and fair working conditions” for truck drivers are crucial in the transportation of imported goods or products destined for export.
“The failure to fix this matter with the urgency it deserves will affect our local ports as some firms will prefer to use alternative ports from other countries than ours,” Gwala said.
He said the IFP urges government to intervene and ensure these companies implement South African labour laws in favour of local truck drivers and also ensure companies improve working conditions of drivers in the country.
“This will eliminate and prevent what is perceived to be xenophobic attacks against other Africans.
“Having said that, the IFP would like to put it on record that whatever the reasons are, it is totally against xenophobia. The IFP believes that every citizen is expected to constructively shape social cohesion through healthy, peaceful, practical solutions that can effectively address all challenges fuelling the problems in the trucking industry. Repeating stereotypes will not advance the goals of upholding the fundamental rights of all in our society,” Gwala said.
The party also urged government to roll-out an action programme that would also reach out to communities at large.
“Programmes such as awareness campaigns aimed at educating about the negative effects of xenophobia, protect potential victims and discourage people from indulging in violent practices whenever there are issues that need the attention of government.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)