The Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, has been advised by the Justice Crime Prevention & Security (JCPS) Cluster of Cabinet that truck drivers are planning a shutdown to some of South Africa’s major national roads during this Easter Weekend.
Minister Nzimande urges the law enforcement agencies to arrest all those intending to destabilize peace and stability on our roads, by disrupting the flow of traffic and burning public and private property. We are also calling upon the law enforcement agencies not only to arrest those responsible but also to impound all vehicles involved.
“I have been assured by the security cluster that it is ready to deal decisively with any such possible disruptions”, Minister Nzimande further said.
“It is disingenuous and disturbing that after numerous meetings which were followed by agreed recommendations between government and the Truck Driver’s Associations, that today we are informed about this unfortunate development to block our roads,” said Minister Nzimande.
On Wednesday, 03 April 2019, Minister Nzimande presented a consolidated report of the Inter-Departmental Task Team, in which truck driver’s associations were part, established to deal with grievances lodged by the South African truck drivers regarding the employment of foreign truck drivers in South Africa.
The leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Association participated in a joint media briefing with Minister Nzimande and agreed on the implementation of the recommendations of the report.
Part of the agreement from the meeting of the 3 April was that all stakeholders will study the recommendations and come together to finalize these at a meeting of all stakeholders to be convened by the Minister of Labour before the end of April.
The Minister of Transport has officially handed over the report to the Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Olifant, as this is in essence a labour dispute between employers and workers on the issue of employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry.
The Minister said that any planned action to block our roads is a clear indication that the truck driver’s associations are engaging government in bad faith, misleading all involved that they are committed to discussions.
Minister Nzimande said that by blocking national roads, truck drivers not only disrupt the traffic flow but their actions are tantamount to sabotage of the economy of the country, government service delivery programmes and disruption of the Easter break by millions of South Africans who will be on the roads during this time.
Amongst the Inter-Departmental Task Team recommendations, the Department of Labour will continue to conduct unannounced inspections to unscrupulous employers disregarding employment laws.
The law enforcement officers were tasked to identify routes with high volumes, particularly routes used by cross border trucks so that they can conduct multi-disciplinary road block operations.
“Similarly, we have urged employers to work towards resolving the grievances of truck drivers speedily,” said Minister Nzimande.
Minister Nzimande once more calls upon the truck drivers to abandon any mooted plans and abide by the terms of the agreement with government and the implementation of the Task Team recommendations.