The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) has urged the Department of Labour to investigate the hiring of undocumented workers in the truck industry.
“It’s not xenophobic, it’s just the employers who are refusing to comply with the provisions of the law. They’re creating a problem,” The union’s General Secretary Jack Mazibuko said.
Monday night, at least three trucks were torched at a depot in Balgowan in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, while another caught alight after its brakes failed at the Tugela Toll Plaza about 125km away.
Minster of Police Bheki Cele, along with Minster of Transport Fikile Mbalula, Labour MInister Thulas Nxesi and Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi attended an urgent meeting in Durban in an attempt to resolve the ongoing assaults on trucks on the N3 highway in KwaZulu Natal but the onslaught continues unabated.
Mazibuko says driving is not a scarce skill which means local workers need to get first preference. He says this is not about discrimination but the law.
“We’re calling on the minister of labour to intervene,” he added, “failing to intervene would lead us to engage the employers who are within the bargaining council to stop the operations in protecting of our members and their employees.”
Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela said in a statement: “We are extremely worried that government, in the form of Department of Labour, Home Affairs and the South African Police Service, enters into talks with an illegitimate association while excluding registered trade unions and employers that are party to the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry.”
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said last week that attacks on truckers were “clearly unacceptable” and called for law enforcement to be doubled on the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban.
“There is to be no terror on our roads,” he said. “Such activities do not only terrorise the freight sector, but the general populace using our roads who are entitled to safe use, free of violence.”
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.