The Road Freight Association (RFA) has indicated that it’s inaccurate that public sector concerns are failing to react to the arson attacks and violent disruptions in South Africa’s road freight sector, a view generally held by transporters since the firebombing of trucks flared up last week.
According to RFA CEO Gavin Kelly, there are meetings scheduled for this week involving all the relevant government departments as well as the SA Police Service (SAPS).
Attendees at the meetings scheduled to address the violence included relevant parties in the labour arena, Kelly said.
He also confirmed that attacks on transporters were unfortunately continuing.
“There are reports of around 21 to 25 trucks having been attacked – either being burnt out, having stones thrown at them or being shot at.
“So far, thank goodness, there are no reports of any deaths.”
In the absence of information from any government department and the SAPS, the RFA has been the only organisation to provide input about what officialdom is doing with regard to the violent disruption of the local transport sector.
Several attempts to talk to transport ministry spokesperson Ayanda Allie-Paine have been unsuccessful.
It also not clear exactly which departments Kelly is referring to.
The assumption is that he’s particularly referring to the departments of home affairs and labour, government entities directly involved in looking into accusations that foreign nationals are taking job opportunities away from locals.
It is also alleged that many non-citizens are working in South Africa illegally, either because they don’t have permits and are being exploited by low-paying employers, or because they have fraudulently obtained work permits by using counterfeit identity documents.
Several representatives from the freight industry are also appealing for the department of trade, industry and competition to get involved since the transport industry unrest could serious scupper South Africa’s chances of luring investors.
Should the attacks continue, transporters warn, cross-border concerns will start using ports other than Durban while local supply chain operators go under in the face of overwhelming risk to life and property.