Police Minster Bheki Cele promises attacks on N2, which have left drivers injured, will get the highest priority. Pictured is a damaged bread truck was petrol bombed on the N2, Lwandle. Picture: Supplied
Cape Town - Attacks on truck drivers on the N2 will receive the highest priority, Police Minister Bheki Cele has promised.

Cele said he was in “permanent” contact with legal representatives of the truck drivers. “We are trying to bring the Western Cape trucking problems and its organised people around a table regarding the attacks.”

This after a truck assistant suffered burns to his face and hands when a bread truck was allegedly petrol- bombed near Strand on Saturday.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said a 32-year-old sustained facial injuries and was admitted to hospital after a truck was petrol-bombed in Lwandle.

“Our investigation into the attempted murder and malicious damage to property led to the arrest of a 34-year-old suspect who made a court appearance in Strand yesterday. He will remain in custody until his next court appearance.”

That was the second petrol-bombing of a truck in the area in less than a week.

Traut said they were also investigating circumstances surrounding two cases of malicious damage to property after two vehicles were stoned by protesters on the N2 in Lwandle on Sunday.

Transport and Public Works MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela condemned the attacks on truck drivers in the province.

Madikizela said recently a truck was petrol-bombed in Touws River, a driver died when a truck was stoned in De Doorns and several other trucks were attacked on the N2 in Cape Town last week.

He said Beaufort West remained the hot spot where trucks were attacked in the Western Cape. “Criminality has been identified as the main cause of attack on the drivers,” Madikizela said.

“In the 2018/19 financial year, 1.4million heavy vehicles entered the Western Cape. Between May and June, 217 trucks entered the province via the N1 highway.”

Madikizela said he recently met the South African Long-Distance Truckers (Salt) and discussed truck drivers’ safety on the provincial roads.

“The association represents over 210000 members. I took over this portfolio at a time when trucks were burnt and trains torched. I immediately engaged stakeholders to find amicable solutions.

“I recently met with Salt and our provincial traffic officers are interacting with the association to find ways of dealing with the problem”.

Madikizela said their law enforcement agencies must ensure strong action was taken against perpetrators.

“Those responsible for these actions must be brought to book and prosecuted,” he added.

Afzal Hamed, of a truckers’ lobby group, said although companies had expressed concern about the safety of their truck drivers, beefing up security was not always an option, “because most are barely covering costs”.

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Cape Argus