JOHANNESBURG – A South African drivers’ association behind the current truck violence in South Africa’s volatile KwaZulu-Natal Province has allegedly ordered trucking companies in the country to dismiss all non-South African truck drivers and replace them with locals.
Apparently, the move by the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF), is a double-pronged ploy to push xenophobia and profiteer, as trucking companies are also being told to pay the association R350 for each of the ATDF members under their employ.
A Netwerk24 report made these claims citing the Freight Association, to which the demands were made.
“Non-compliant companies are being threatened with retaliation and that their vehicles will be set on fire,” the Freight Association said, according to a Netwerk24 story published this week.
Also quoted by Netwerk24, economist Mike Schüssler, described the claim by the Freight Association as economic sabotage, similar to the construction companies that paralyze construction sites nationwide.
Schüssler said it was the same way used on construction firms when they were forced to close construction sites unless they gave 30% of the building contracts value to the mafia that claimed to represent local communities.
Eighty-eight percent of products in South Africa were transported by road at a profit margin of as little as 3.8%, said Schüssler.
Positive Freight Solutions obtained a court order in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court on May 31, which banned the ATDF from “assaulting, abusing, harassing, threatening or intimidating its members” or “damaging their vehicles” and hampering their transport operations.
Despite this, 17 trucks were set on fire on the N3 last weekend, affecting the main route between Gauteng and Durban.
According to the Road Transport Association, the onslaught over 12 months claimed more than 200 lives and 1,200 vehicles were damaged or destroyed at a total cost of about R1.2 billion for the economy.