Minister Madikizela condemns truck drivers' strike action
I strongly condemn acts of violence and the prevention of public roads usage following today’s strike by truck drivers.
Several roads had to be closed for traffic from early morning due to trucks blocking the road while others were seen offloading sand on the road. This caused major delays and inconvenience to other road users. This kind of behaviour impacts on people’s ability to get to work and school and will seriously impact the economy.
Since I took office as Minister of Transport and Public Works, there have been regular engagements with the South African Long-Distance Truckers (SALT) about truck drivers’ safety on provincial roads. The association raised xenophobic and criminal activities facing its members across the country. The department has since been in constant contact with the South African Police Services Intelligence Division to address allegations leading to today’s strike action.
I took over this portfolio at a time when trucks were burnt and trains torched. I immediately engaged stakeholders to find amicable solutions. I recently met with SALT and our provincial traffic officers are interacting with the association to find ways of dealing with the problem.
While we respect and uphold the right of individuals to protest, we cannot condone lawlessness including damage to property. We understand the frustration but the inconvenience on other road users which causes major delays will not be tolerated. Road safety remains a priority and our provincial traffic are monitoring the situation. I am also receiving regular updates about the situation.
Of particular concern to us is that the unions in the National Bargaining Council for Road Freight and Logistics have reportedly denied calling for the strike, and it is being orchestrated by unknown entities who cannot be held responsible for their actions.
I strongly condemn these act of violence, which are both criminal and act as an obstruction to economic development in our province. Our traffic officers are deployed in concentrated locations to ensure that our roads are safe.