The South African National Cargo Transport Drivers Association will be marching to the offices of the National Bargaining Council in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning over the recent spate of attacks on truck drivers.

Dozens of truck drivers have been attacked and their vehicles set alight in the past few months.

Most of the incidents have occurred on highways in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Johannesburg Metro Police Spokesperson Wayne Minnaar says officers will be deployed to oversee the march.

“This protest will be as from 9am up until 2pm today. JMPD officers will be on duty on De Korte Street to manage the traffic for the duration of the gathering.”

Drivers fearing for their lives

More than 80 trucks have been torched or vandalised since April this year.

Truck drivers say they fear for their lives.

50-year-old Zimbabwean Tondarai Mhlanga has been a truck driver for more than 20 years and says truck drivers encounter a lot of problems in South Africa.

“In South Africa in particular, especially we truck drivers, it has always been a problem. There are many hijackers; even where you sleep, even the type of loads you carry. In 2002, I was hijacked; they did injure me and they took the truck.”

45-year-old Elias Mofokeng from Sasolburg in the Free State is equally concerned. “I was not driving, the truck was driven by my younger brother. A group of people attacked us. Following the incident, I don’t know what happened, I found myself at the hospital. So when these attacks happen, they remind me of the incident. We are not supposed to live in fear. The incident affected my vision from 2001 until 2007.”

Meanwhile, 42-year-old December Motaung, from Harrismith in the Free State has been a truck driver for 8 years.

Motaung transports fertiliser and chrome between Rustenburg and Durban. He says South African drivers don’t get jobs.

Attacks have fuelled tensions between local and foreign drivers

The Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA) says violence against truck drivers is xenophobic:

-Additional reporting by Thabiso Radebe