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Truck drivers threaten to shut down major routes in South Africa this weekend

By Phephile Motau

Truck drivers in South Africa plan to embark on a national shutdown on April 30. The shutdown is expected to interrupt major transport routes – including the N3 between Johannesburg and Durban.

Business Tech reported that this is expected to cause stress to the supply chain, which is already under strain from the country’s failing rail network, as billions of rands of goods are transported via trucks across South Africa.

It was reported in an interview with SABC News, All Truck Drivers Forum (ATDF) and Allied South Africa’s Deputy Chairperson Mandla Mngomezulu said the national strike is a stand against the employment of foreign nationals – concerns that have fallen on deaf ears for years.

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Mngomezulu said that this strike would affect the entire country as they have 11 000 members across South Africa – and disruptions can be expected on all major transport routes throughout the supply chain.

He added that members have been instructed to remain peaceful during the shutdown but noted that “anything can happen if police interfere with their demonstrations”.

Despite the strike commencing on a Sunday, ATDF said the shutdown would be felt by the South African economy.

“Whether it is a weekend or not, the fact is trucks move goods across the country all the time, and therefore the impact of our action will be felt,” he said.

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This strike comes as the ATDF has accused truck owners of overlooking local drivers and opting to employ foreign drivers, who offered cheap labour.

“An inter-ministerial committee of various government departments, including Transport, Home Affairs, and Labour and Employment, was set up in 2021 to look into the matter, but nothing has been done,” said Mngomezulu.

The Forum called for the matter to be attended to by the government and truck owners have fallen on deaf ears for three years now, and they are fed up with it.

The Truckers Association of South Africa and the Road Freight Association (RFA) warn that the strike would be a massive blow to the country’s already battered economy.

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