In an attempt to put an end to truck vandalism, the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) government has entered a deal with truck owners to provide approximately 400 jobs for South Africans in the freight industry, reports News24.
According to the publication, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala stated that together with the national government, they will initiate an operation along the province’s N2, N3 and N11 routes in order to find drivers who do not have the proper permits.
Zikalala says that the above-mentioned will be done because of the recent torching of trucks, attacks on drivers and “a long-standing dispute over the employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry.”
Prioritising employment of South African drivers
“We reached important commitments which we believe that if they are implemented successfully, will guarantee peace and stability in this all-important industry,” said the premier. “In principle, we agree that truck operators must, with immediate effect, prioritise the employment of South African drivers. Every foreign national who is currently driving a South African registered truck must be appropriately licensed and must have a valid permit issued by the Department of Home Affairs.”
The Citizen states that the province will collaborate with the Department of Labour and Employment to manage the database of prospective drivers. This, to ensure that the drivers have a clear criminal record and valid qualifications, says Zikalala. This will also be submitted to the driver associations, including the National Drivers’ Federation and the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF).
“We now have a firm commitment from the drivers that there will be no burning of trucks, blocking of any road or entry to the port of Durban,” says Zikalala.
Zikalala also mentioned that to have long-term solutions, appropriate amendments to the law will have to be made, which include, “speeding up the review of the scarce skills policy to clarify the contentious question of the employment of foreign nationals in low-skill sectors.”
The premier added that the matter was taken up to the national government, as it affects not only KZN, but the SADC region too.
“We will work together with all stakeholders as long as they are prepared to find a lasting solution to these current challenges,” said Zikalala.
The task team that has been assigned the responsibility of addressing challenges in the road freight sector is said to have weekly meetings to receive reports on operations.