By Liz Dlodlo
South Africa’s main opposition political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called on the police in that country to urgently investigate and arrest those behind the ongoing attacks on commercial trucks along major highways.
The violence has seen over 20 commercial trucks being burnt down, around Durban and Gauteng areas, while some drivers were beaten up by local thugs protesting against the hiring of foreign drivers in the trucking sector.
South Africa being industrialized ships out most of its goods to the rest of Sadc, mainly Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Angola, Malawi, DRC, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Namibia and Mozambique by road using haulage trucks.
In a statement on Thursday, the DA’s shadow Minister of Transport, Chris Hunsinger South Africa cannot afford to be held hostage by those seeking to destroy the economic destruction through wanton acts of violence that endangers lives and livelihoods.
“Just last night there were a plethora of attacks that put the lives of the drivers at risk and resulted in destroyed property.
A multi-stakeholder action plan lead by the Transport Minister needs to be tabled urgently. What these attackers seem to forget is that the destruction of these trucks has a wide economic impact – far wider than the financial damage to the trucking company and the driver” said Hunsinger.
He said the truckers are the lifeblood of the South African economy considering that railway transport was bad.
Hunsinger said, at the moment many South African businesses rely on trucks to deliver goods and products and that they would not survive without this vital service.
“Without truck drivers, our economy would be in even deeper trouble.
While the DA commends President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reaction to the attacks, the ship has sailed on his request for a report regarding this matter from the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele,” said Hunsinger.
The politician said attacks on trucks and truck drivers have been steadily increasing for the past four years and that the time for reports was over.
“Now is the time for decisive action to be taken against what can surely be regarded as economic terrorism,” he said.
He added that there was a need for high-level investigations and urgent arrests so that those responsible are held to account.