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‘Companies and employees will suffer’ — Truckers Association of South Africa on truck attacks

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The Truckers Association of South Africa has weighed in on recent truck attacks, saying the freight industry cannot afford the incidents.

At least 16 trucks were recently set alight in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The latest incident happened on Monday at about 10pm on the N2, according to KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker.

Speaking on eNCA, the association’s spokesperson Mary Phadi echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s statement that the attacks were “economic sabotage”.

“[These attacks] affect production and they [the attackers] are aware if they burn a truck, consumers are going to suffer. It is going to take time for a company to recover and claim through insurance. It is sabotage against the freight industry,” said Phadi.

She said a truck cost more than R2.5m and the incidents will affect employees’ incomes.

“Whatever is happening now happened five years ago, when the burning of tracks was a huge concern. This is a clear sign that again there’s an issue [regarding] the employment of truck drivers,” said Phadi.

“They [the attackers] are not stealing or hijacking trucks and they are not taking products. They are just burning the trucks. It is clear they are sending a message to say, ‘we’ve been negotiating with you’.”

Phadi pleaded with businesses to refrain from illegally employing foreign truck drivers and to follow the department of employment & labour’s laws.

Limpopo police launched a manhunt for six suspects linked to the burning of trucks in Sekhukhune on the R547 Lydenburg road.

Police spokesperson Col Malesela Ledwaba said the complainant was driving on the Lydenburg and Sekhukhune roads to deliver chrome to a mine when he was accosted by six unknown men.

“Two suspects were armed with firearms. He was instructed to block the road with the truck and to disembark through the window. The suspects then burnt the truck,” said Ledwaba.

Truck owner Vusumuzi Mangwana told TimesLIVE the burning of trucks was a shame and one needs to consider whether having trucks on the roads is worth the trouble.

“This is not the first time and I am certain this will not be the last time. The government seems to be very complacent in dealing with these issues. The burning of trucks brings a lot of uneasiness as insurance might cover the damage, but no-one wants to put trucks on the road relying on insurance because you are not running a business freely in that case,” he said.

Mangwana said drivers prefer not to drive routes traditionally known to be dangerous. He said government needs to intervene and deal with the criminal acts decisively.

Ramaphosa said he has assigned a team to investigate the truck attacks.

“I am concerned about these activities which have a negative impact on our economy. It is almost like economic sabotage because burning six trucks on the main artery of our country is concerning in terms of the economy,” said Ramaphosa.

“The intelligence agencies are going to give me a report and police will take steps to make sure we forestall whatever follow-up activity those behind this may be planning and go after them.

“It is not acceptable that trucks and facilities that are enhancing our economy are attacked. They should never be attacked.”

Source: TimesLIVE

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