Foreign Truckers, Firms, Customers Warned Of Weekend Disruption

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Long-distance haulage truck owners and drivers have been warned of possible disruptions at the weekend and they are advised to be extra cautious or – if possible – to hold back on being on the road.

“The South African Police Service has advised that disruptive action is expected from the All Truck Drivers Forum (ATDF) and affiliates on national and provincial roads this weekend,” Transnet warns in a letter to customers.

The letter dated 2 February was signed by Nokwanda Ndlela, acting key accounts manager Transnet Port Terminals Richards Bay.

The ATDF is a leading voice in the protest against hiring foreign nationals as truck drivers.

“Blockade of national roads and highways, most likely using hijacked trucks, will likely take place in order to intensify the pressure on government to address their grievance with the use of foreign truck drivers by South African trucking companies,” said Transnet.

Ndlela warned the N3 and N2 have been targetted before and there may also be disruptive actions at the Durban and Richards Bay ports.

In November last year, some 300 protesters said to be ATDF members or sympathisers gathered on Langeberg Road in Bayhead, in Durban, where they burned tyres and blockaded parts of the road. 

A few weeks ago, eThekwini Metro police dispersed a crowd of about 100 protesters who were stopping trucks near the old Durban airport site demanding to see drivers’ permits so they could check whether they were foreign nationals.

The anti-foreigner sentiment, driven somewhat by Operation Dudula, has continued to intensify unabated as more and more South Africans demand jobs.

Transnet said contingency measures have been implemented by various security clusters.

“This includes continuous vehicle patrols and high visibility on our roads of law enforcement officers,” said Ndlela.

“Clients making use of road transport for the transportation of commodities to the Port of Richards Bay are advised to proceed with caution and if possible, rather hold back RMT transport during the weekend.”

Sifiso Nyathi, secretary of the ATDF and Allied South Africa, said members plan to protest on Sunday.