Protesting truck drivers threaten to bring capital to standstill

Truck drivers who had earlier blocked roads around Tshwane are calling on President Zuma to retract his statement over independent power producers.

Protestors arrive at the Union Buildings in Pretoria to hand over a memorandum of demands. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

PRETORIA - Truck drivers who had earlier blocked roads around Tshwane with their vehicles have arrived at the Union Buildings, and have handed over a memorandum of their demands to government officials.

Affiliates of the Coal Transporters Forum are protesting over President Jacob Zuma's recent announcement that government will employ additional independent power producers, which could see a drastic reduction in the need for coal transportation.

Earlier, the drivers barricaded major roads around the capital Tshwane as they made their way to their meeting place in Marabastad.

They have threatened to bring the capital to a standstill, calling on Zuma to retract his statement as the move will leave them jobless.

There was hooting, chanting and singing in Marabastad as the truck drivers moved towards the Union Buildings through the Pretoria CBD.

Protesters travelled through the capital in bakkies.

They say they decided to leave their trucks at the old Putco bus depot on Steuben Street to avoid further disruptions on the roads.

At the same time, the drivers say they'll return to the union buildings in 21 days’ time if government fails to address their demands.

The Coal Transporters Forum says government has exactly three weeks to respond to their concerns.

Chairperson Steve Mokwana said: “If they don’t respond to us, we will come back here again.”

Government’s Shimmy Mashweu and Tsekiso Sebati received the group’s memorandum of demands at the entrance to the Union Buildings.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)