Truck drivers still feeling unsafe despite police, SANDF deployment

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The deployment of police and SANDF in hotspot areas impacted by the torching of trucks has been warmly welcomed by truck drivers. However some say they still don’t feel safe.

Addressing the media earlier this week, Police Minister Bheki Cele said 12 suspects believed to be linked to recent truck attacks are predominantly from KwaZulu-Natal.

Six trucks were torched at Van Reenen’s Pass on Saturday night and two on the N2 at Empangeni on Tuesday. To curb the further torching of trucks and destruction of property, government has deployed the army and police to monitor the situation.

Some truck drivers in and around Durban, however, insist that their security is still not guaranteed despite the announced security forces deployment.

“We are not safe at all. The situation is still the same. The soldiers they are talking about are at the toll gates. Here. nobody is looking after us. We want police to be deployed to dangerous areas such as Van Reenens and others,” says Themba Khubisa, truck driver.

“We are not safe, not 100% safe on the road. Although they have deployed police and soldiers on the roads, but still we are not safe. I think labour laws must apply as we are always under pressure. If I come here after 12 midnight I need to rush to JHB even if you are tired. They push you and ask you what time you are going to be there,” says Sipho Phangalele, truck driver.

President Ramaphosa warns truck attackers:

Truck drivers Manzamtoti Mazibuko and Njabulo Tembe have criticised government for failing to address their challenges, including the employment of foreign nationals, a concern that has been raised for years now.

“I think the preference foreign drivers get over local drivers is the main cause of this. We are always promised that actions will be taken to address the situation, but nothing has been done. For example, in some companies, if local drivers come without experience, they don’t get a job, but when a foreign driver comes without a necessary experience, employers make sure that he gets the necessary experience,” says Mazibuko.

“We sleep here next to this forest. The perpetrators can come out from this forest and do whatever they want to do. The government doesn’t take our grievances seriously and there are things that should be done by the government. For example, the Bargaining Council, other companies are not part of the council because they know that they can easily hire foreign national drivers without any supporting documents,” says Tembe.

Addressing the media on decisions by the provincial executive committee, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomsa Dube-Ncube says they are planning to establish special courts to fast track the persecution of these perpetrators.

“The cluster is looking at the matters of justice department in terms of ensuring that at least we even establish a special court in order to deal with some of these cases because we believe that probably the non-prosecution of these cases on time does actually delay justice that we want to see happening in some of these matters,” says Dube-Ncube.

Truck Attacks I Police rule out link between torching of trucks and 2021 July unrest: