Durban — The torching of six trucks on the N3 highway at Van Reenen’s Pass has been labelled as a ruthless attack on the road freight supply chain with a far-reaching effect on the country’s economy, business confidence, security, as well as law and order in corridor movement.
This was according to the Road Freight Association (RFA) which said it was nothing else but a co-ordinated attack on the road freight sector.
“Both the specific spot on the N3, as well as the timing, were chosen to cause the best outcome in terms of mayhem and disruption. The long-term effects will bring greater destruction to employment levels and will result in further job losses, as businesses and supporting sectors shrink and trade moves away from South Africa,” said CEO of the association Gavin Kelly on Sunday.
WATCH: The Department of Transport in KwaZulu-Natal says the N3 is about to be opened. This is after a cleanup following the torching of six trucks at Van Reenen’s Pass. Video: @KZNTransport #truckstorched #N3VehicleFireUpdate #N3JoburgBound #VanReenenPass pic.twitter.com/RjGtoHK4VB— Daily News (@DailyNewsSA) July 9, 2023
He said while the immediate short-term losses will run into millions of Rand which included the cost of vehicles, cargo, personal effects, road damage, EMS response, delays in movement, and shipping penalties, the long-term impact will be felt in terms of increased security costs into the cost of logistics, higher insurance premiums, higher SARIA cover premiums, higher toll fees, less freight movement through South Africa, closure of freight companies and loss of jobs.
“Depending on the category of vehicle, the type, and value of the cargo, the specialised equipment required for the cargo the costs can be anywhere between R3 to R10-million. A simple calculation of capital losses (assets and cargoes) of the six trucks destroyed to date amounts to anything between R18 to R60 million.”
Kelly said the cost of loss of income through businesses closing was far greater, this was if any of the trucks belonged to a small business.
“It will have lost its only truck or trucks this means a loss of earnings/revenue for the business, loss of salaries paid to staff who would no longer have jobs (due to business shutdown), loss of revenue through the services and support the business uses such as fuel, storage, maintenance, tolls, staff requirements, and licensing,” said Kelly.
He said the targeted precision of the attack was worrying adding that this was well planned and efficiently implemented.
“At this point, no group has acknowledged that they are responsible. If this is the same grouping that has been behind such attacks across the country over the past six years, then action needs to be taken against those who promote, plan, and implement such criminal actions. We have heard the Minister of Police refer to economic sabotage and many other forms of description, but it would seem that this behaviour continues unabated.”
Kelly said if the attack was the work of the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF-SA) and its counterparts relating to the employment of illegal foreigners in the road freight (or any other) sector, then the responsible Department of Employment and Labour, and its inspection structures, must ensure that their responsibility to protect employees and employers from non-compliant labour practices is strictly and swiftly applied.
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