DA calls for high-level task team to probe truck attacks

The Democratic Alliance (DA) condemns the destruction of multiple trucks on the N3, R103, R23 and R550 main routes last night. The first reports of mob attacks on trucks were received at 22:15 with the number of burning trucks rising to more than 20 over the course of the night – all were petrol bombed.

The operational execution appears to be well-coordinated and clearly planned.

The DA calls on the Department of Transport to launch an immediate high-level investigation task team to establish the origin of the attacks and combat this phenomenon of attacking trucks for no apparent reason. In the DA’s view an attack on trucks is an attack on our economy.

Road transportation is the lifeline in distribution of goods, articles and products and these acts of violence is an attack on every citizen’s and business’ livelihood. Almost everything that we purchase has had to be transported with a truck at some stage.

The government needs to adapt its view on the trucking industry. Over the last years the DA has repeatedly warned of looming threats which included the xenophobic campaign against employment of foreigners by South African-based fleet owners. Several other issues have since been raised with government and the Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, with no apparent plan nor action steps.

The random attacks of last night started with the petrol bombing of trucks on four major freeways all at the same time. The attackers then moved north to the Mapleton area of Vosloorus on the N3, bombing more trucks in what appears to be a well meditated operation. Given that these areas and routes are known hotspots, truckers need to be protected better. Regular patrols could have prevented these criminal acts, which are nothing short of terrorist attacks not just on trucks but on the economy and all intensions of reconstruction and recovery.

Attacks like these can never be justified. They endanger the lives and livelihoods of countless truck drivers. It has to stop, and government must take action.

I will be in touch with my counterpart, stakeholders and the trucking industry in an effort to address government’s reluctance to protect core participators of our economy and the livelihood of providers of every citizen in South Africa.

South Africa cannot afford such losses simply because someone needs to make a point. This must stop. The trucking industry needs to be protected and it is not the job of the industry to do so as it is currently trying to do against great odds. The Department of Transport must take lead and coordinate a multi-stakeholder action plan immediately. The trucks destroyed in last night’s attacks will be a drop in the ocean compared to the total destruction of the economy when all trucks stop transporting goods. This, we cannot afford, therefore government needs to step up and show responsibility.

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