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Cape Town - Thirty-four trucks have been torched in Cape Town since the start of the transport workers’ strike three weeks ago, say city authorities.
At least eight trucks were attacked and set alight in Cape Town on Thursday.
Five truck drivers were admitted to GF Jooste Hospital and were being treated for burn injuries on Thursday night.
Western Cape Health Department deputy communications director Mark van der Heever confirmed the five drivers were admitted on Thursday.
“Five truck drivers were taken to GF Jooste and two of them are on ventilators, the one sustained 40 percent burns and the second 60 percent burns to their bodies, Van der Heever said.
Patrick Thapile, a truck driver who works for a toilet paper company, whose truck was stoned and burnt in Philippi on Thursday, said he was terrified of going back to work.
“From what I could see, it was like 50 men that came running towards our truck and started to throw stones and we were lucky we got away. When I came back to check on the truck it was on fire,” Thapile said.
A 59-year-old and a 51-year-old driver sustained minor injuries as they jumped out of their trucks to avoid being attacked, while Pick n Pay drivers ran towards the ocean after their truck was pelted with stones on Baden Powell Drive near Strandfontein. In Gugulethu, a truck driver and his assistant escape injury after being stoned.
City fire and rescue services spokesperson Theo Layne said a total of 34 trucks had been torched since the strike began on September 24.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk confirmed Thursday’s incidents and for the first time linked the attacks to the strike.
“The motives of the violence could possibly be related to the strike.”
Van Wyk said cases of arson, malicious damage to property and public violence have been opened and requested that anyone with information contact crime stop on 086000111.
* On Friday, the Road Freight Employers Association said all four unions were set to sign a three-year wage deal to end the countrywide truck driver strike.
The agreement would be signed at 10am on Friday. Details of the deal would be made public after the signing.
Cape Argus, Sapa