No overnight violence in truckers strike

Police say there were no incidents of strike-related violence overnight.

A truck blocking the R24 towards OR Tambo International Airport. Picture: Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - There were no incidents of strike-related violence on Thursday night after 45 truck drivers were arrested for public violence in the East Rand during the day, police said on Friday.

The group of men were caught throwing debris and bricks onto the N12 highway and disrupting traffic.

Police were still trying to determine if the apprehended men were members of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), after the union denied any of its members were responsible for any violence.

Over the past three days, Ekurhuleni metro police have reported 23 incidents of assault and intimidation, and more than two dozen injuries to truck drivers and commuters caught-up in strike-related violence.

On Thursday, Eyewitness News followed a group of striking truck drivers obstructing the R21 highway in Kempton Park as they set alight a working driver's vehicle and fled on trains at a nearby station.

While police at the scene were unable to arrest any members of the group, the Ekurhuleni metro police's special investigative unit arrested 45 men throwing rocks from a bridge on to the N12 highway.

Striking drivers are set to picket in Germinston on Friday, as they wait for news on whether permits have been granted to protest in the Johannesburg CBD.

Workers are demanding a 12 percent monthly salary increase, but the Road Freight Employers' Association (RFEA) is offering eight percent.

The national strike has already caused a delay in goods and cash being delivered to stores and ATMs.


Meanwhile, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has appealed to authorities to crack down on unruly strikers.

A third truck was set alight in the Western Cape on a bridge near the N2 on Thursday.

Provincial traffic chief Kenny Africa said authorities were not sure if it was a petrol bomb or whether the truck was set alight.

Sacci's Neren Rau said the chamber was concerned at how the country's transporting of goods was being compromised.

"We are very concerned that the transport workers' behaviour is not only impacting the provision of transport, but also undermining the infrastructure to move goods across the country."