Satawu calls on govt to intervene in trucking industry ‘chaos’ as deaths mount

Dozens of trucks have been attacked and torched on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal in the past year, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, including drivers.

FILE: Seven trucks were set alight by unknown suspects in the early hours of Thursday 28 March 2019 on the N3 near Mooi River. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) on Monday called on government to put a stop to the rapid loss of life in the trucking industry.

This comes after dozens of trucks were attacked and torched on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal in the past year, resulting in the deaths of 213 people, including drivers.

Satawu accused government of engaging with an illegitimate truck owner association, the Positive Freight Solution Forum, which allegedly hires undocumented foreign nationals over qualified South Africans.

The union said this was creating tensions in the industry.

“The association is on record as saying South Africans do not possess the required skills to drive their trucks thereby justifying the employment of undocumented foreign nationals.

“South African legislation is clear that a company cannot employ a foreign national unless he/she possesses a scarce skill. Possessing a code 14 driver’s licence, however, is hardly a scarce skill,” Satawu spokesperson Zanele Sabela said in a statement.

Satawu called on the Department of Labour as the custodian of the Labour Relations Act to monitor employers and bring those who do not comply with the law to book.

“Satawu vehemently condemns the burning of trucks and the loss of innocent lives that results. Sadly, compliant employers are not spared.

“We are extremely worried that government, in the form of Department of Labour, Home Affairs and the South African Police Service, enters into talks with an illegitimate association while excluding registered trade unions and employers that are party to the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry,” Sabela said.

Should government not heed the union's call to intervene, Satawu warned it would mobilise all employer associations nationally to stop operations and cease the movement of all goods until government takes effective action.