Truck drivers gear up for planned shutdown on Madiba’s birthday

Truck drivers gear up for planned shutdown on Madiba’s birthday

Image for illustrative purposes only. Photo: ER24

An association representing truck drivers is planning a national shutdown on July 18 as truck torchings and lootings continue.

A case between truck owners represented by the Positive Freight Solution Forum (PFSF) and drivers of the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) is set to go ahead on the day the country is set to celebrate the birthday of late former president Nelson Mandela, reports TimesLive.

The case, to take place in the Pietermaritzburg High Court, pertains to the alleged hiring of foreign nationals as truck drivers instead of qualified South African drivers. Truck owners have denied these allegations, and say they are being victimised.

In light of the recent truck lootings and torchings, the PTSF obtained an urgent interdict on May 30, which singles out four ATDF leaders Sipho Zungu, Cele Khumbulani, Mncebe Sihle, and Nkosenye Buthelezi said to be behind the lootings and torchings.

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Zungu vehemently opposed the PFSF allegations, saying that it was essential that the government paid attention to “facts” provided which allegedly prove that foreign drivers were being employed in South Africa.

He also told TimesLive that the PFSF must provide evidence that ATDP members were involved in the torchings and lootings.

The PTSF has retained its stance that the forum has become a victim of bullying and intimidation.

The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said it was concerned that neither the ATDF nor the PFSF were registered with the National Bargaining Council, therefore making them illegitimate, the South African reports.

During a media briefing in April, truck owners insisted that employed foreign nationals were in the country legally, had all necessary documentation, and were paid the same amount as South African drivers.

Aven Naidu from Positive Freight Solutions said it was not against the law to employ a documented foreign national as a truck driver, but what was against the law was to employ a foreign national who was in the country illegally.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said an analysis should be done to determine whether truck driving was a skill of which there was a shortage in South Africa, prompting truck owners to employ foreign nationals.

Private investigator Danie Day recently told Moneyweb that the spike in truck attacks meant South Africa risked losing drivers and export partners due to safety concerns, especially on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg.

“The okes are concerned and the drivers have made it very clear that they will abandon the trucks because they cannot continue to work under these circumstances,” said Day.

Day added that there was evidence of a “third force” behind the attacks but did not elaborate, and acknowledged that many in the trucking industry had blamed the ATDF.

The road freight industry contributes about R121 billion to the economy, and the industry’s association has previously said that the violent attacks have cost the economy between R1.2 billion and R1.3 billion.

(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)

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