Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says the attacks on cargo trucks allegedly driven by foreign nationals in some parts of the country were tantamount to economic sabotage which government could not handle alone.
Unlike in the previous three months when the border was experiencing traffic congestion of trucks which had formed a 10 kilometre queue on the N1, Friday was a different scenario. The border was quiet and traffic flow was normal.
Speaking alongside his Zimbabwean counterpart Kazembe Kazembe at the Beitbridge border post outside Musina in Limpopo, Motsoaledi says truck owners must also take responsibility. He has called on the owners of freight companies to work with the government to stem the attacks.
“We actually regard this as economic sabotage that the fact that I am angry I am going to fight and I must state, much as the criminality is not acceptable, the truck owners the trucking companies must also take responsibility because is their businesses this one so it cannot always be the state that cares about their businesses they must also come to the party. This way we will be meeting them and pressurising them that they must also play their role because there are certain things that have been pointed that they are doing which might be aggravating this much as we don’t accept it.”
Zimbabwe’s Minister Kazambe Kazembe says his government is also doing something while monitoring the situation in South Africa.
“Now with regard to attacks of trucks and truck drivers in South Africa, even on our side we will try to up our game in terms of making sure that we prevent such things from happening. We will up the game in the sense that we increase patrols of the security.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele says Gauteng is the latest hotspot for the truck attacks and police have been strategically deployed to contain the violence and deal with the criminality.
Since April there have been 42 arrests across the country and 84 separate attacks.
Government has established an inter-ministerial committee that is tasked with addressing the issue. It includes the Police, Home Affairs and Labour departments.
Police Department spokesperson Lirandzu Themba says in the last month, of the 32 attacks, 24 were in Gauteng.
“There are several hotspots in the Eastern Cape and the Free State, the Gauteng province and KZN. From the start of the month, we have seen 32 trucks burnt, 24 in Gauteng, 3 in Mpumalanga and 5 in the Free State with the other provinces reporting one each and from April to November. We have had about 42 arrests and just this month we have had 25 arrests 20 in Gauteng and 5 in KZN.”
25 people arrested for attacks on truck drivers:
Cross-border travel between SA-Zim
Kazembe is also concerned about the border jumpers by undocumented people between the two countries. He however reassured people who will be traveling to Zimbabwe during the Christmas holidays to prepare their documents in time as they will be required to produce a COVID-19 negative result taken less than 48 hours.
“We are trying to urge our citizens to plan their trips if you know you need to travel a couple of weeks time just try to be tested within the time frame that is prescribed so that you don’t have challenges at the border. As for the illegal crossing that has always been there and my ministry and his ministry we will try to do our utmost to ensure that we curb or minimise it … ”
Meanwhile, minister Motsoaledi warned that strict actions will be implemented across all ports of entry to control the movement of illegal border jumpers.
“We are going to up our communication from the beginning of December for people to know that the fact that the border are now open does not mean that is free for all and we are going to be strict we are going to give them information all the time that don’t come to the border believing that you are going to take chances i am sure you have seen in the past few days there has been a joint operation between the arm and the police is not in the interest of both parties for people to cross the border illegally we also discuss the issue of fake certificates we know that people are going to produce fake certificates.”
Extra immigration and customs officers will be added at several borders countrywide to assist this Christmas holidays.