The IFP notes with serious concern that over the past week, almost three dozen trucks were torched across South Africa.
On the N3 corridor between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, trucks were set on fire on Van Reenen’s Pass, which is a strategic economic route. In Mpumalanga, four trucks were burnt on Wednesday, 12 July, taking the total of burnt trucks up to 20 in under a week.
As the IFP, we must ask: what are the South African Police Services (SAPS) and Crime Intelligence planning to do about this violent onslaught on the trucking industry?
According to Police Minister, Bheki Cele, the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee (Nicoc) met during the week, the army would be deployed, and intelligence has been working to improve their lack of coordination.
We do not believe that these vague assurances from the SAPS are enough, considering the gravity of this situation.
The trucking industry in South Africa provides an essential service, among others, ensuring food security and supplies to all areas of our country, rural and urban.
The health of the trucking industry has a direct impact on the economy, particularly if one considers the sheer volume of goods transported each year, and the industry’s contribution to the economy.
According to the Labour Research Service Transport Sector Report 2022, “A recent estimate of the South African Department of Transport indicates that the transport, storage, and communication sector contributes 9.3% to South Africa’s GDP, while transport alone contributes about 6.5%.”
Clearly, more needs to be done to safeguard this sector, and soon.
Thorough investigations must be done, to determine the root cause of this violence, and to bring these attacks to end.
In the past, there have been allegations that trucks driven by foreign nationals were targeted, yet during the most recent attacks in Gauteng, a South African businessman, who employs only South African drivers, also lost a truck.
Minister Cele has shared reports of 12 alleged “persons of interest” that have been identified, and that “Evidence … points to organised coordinated and sophisticated operations that seek to undermine and sabotage the state.”
As the IFP, we therefore urge Minister Cele and Crime Intelligence to prioritise this ever-growing crisis and provide feedback on an action-plan to safeguard the trucking industry from harm, with timeframes and targets, before the end of the month.
Hon. KP Sithole MP
IFP Member on Transport in the National Assembly
072 784 1909