The South African Association of Freight Forwarders (Saaff) has added its voice to condemnation of the truck blockade over the past few days of South Africa’s most important logistics corridor linking Gauteng with the Port of Durban.
A statement issued by Saaff said: “South Africa cannot afford to suffer the massive knock-on impacts emanating from disruptions to the supply chain caused by the blockade staged by hundreds of truck drivers down the N3.”
Not mincing any words about how important it is for the country’s trade reputation, Saaff stressed that “International trade partners and investors need to see this nation come together to end this situation, to act decisively to end disruptive action causing self-inflicted calamities to an already fragile economy.”
The association’s views about the paralysis that characterised transport on the N3 were in keeping with earlier statements made by Business Unity South Africa and the Department of Transport, Saaff said.
Its CEO, Dr Juanita Maree, said: “The situation has become untenable and is eroding the good efforts of government and the private sector to create employment, to fast track reforms for economic growth aimed at facilitating trade expansion in an effort to restore our economy to good health. This is where the smooth flow of our supply chain plays a critical part.”
The statement continued, “the blockages caused by unresolved labour and social conflict will cost South Africa dearly as a reputable international trade partner, due to loss of investor confidence”.
To this Maree added that “we are in a particularly delicate situation, which requires strong leadership; high unemployment, rising inflation and an already uncertain trading environment due to global dynamics.
“Consulted action by government and the private sector to implement solutions is our collective responsibility.”
Not for the first time either has a leading trade organisation asked why the government allows a crucial lifeline for the country to be interfered with.
Said Saaff: “Localisation as an opportunity of high economic impact in the National restoration programme is at stake here and cannot be lost to internal, unmanaged conflict – or is this sabotage?”
The association concluded saying, “Saaff strongly condemns the blockage on the N3 and related disruptions. We add our voice to that of the Presidency, Business Unity South Africa and the Department of Transport, urgently calling for an end to the blockade of the roads, for the future of our country.”