President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally broken his silence with a statement issued yesterday, 24 November, about the truck torching and xenophobic violence that has struck fear into the hearts and minds of terrorised transport drivers, their employees, and the South African public.
Despairing representatives of the road freight industry are asking why it has taken five days for the highest office in the land to react to the violence that has claimed the life of one driver and led to the destruction of more than 30 trucks.
“President Ramaphosa condemns the violence and vandalism affecting the road freight industry and commends the police work that has led to arrests in Gauteng in the past 24 hours,” the statement reads.
It continues to say that: “The President offers his sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of drivers who have lost their lives through the intimidation and violence perpetrated by criminals.
“The President also offers his wishes for a speedy recovery to drivers who have sustained physical injuries and psychological trauma during these incidents.
“The President is also deeply concerned about the effect of this violence on owners and employees of the affected trucking companies, as well as the economic disruption caused by these acts just as the country is focused on rebuilding the economy.”
The statement quotes Ramaphosa himself as having said: ““As South Africans, we cannot possibly tolerate the mindless and bloody lawlessness with which the road freight industry is being targeted.
“We cannot tolerate this loss of life and destruction of property.”
The statement concludes by saying: “The President therefore welcomes the arrest of suspects in Gauteng in the past 24 hours following deadly assaults on truck drivers. The President is confident that perpetrators in all parts of the country will be brought to book.
“The President has directed labour and employment minister Thulas Nxesi, and the ministers of transport, home affairs, and the police to submit a report on this matter to the President.”