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12 truck drivers to appear in court for blocking the N3, a critical trade route 'for the entire day'

Twelve truck drivers who brought traffic on both carriageways of the N3 highway between Van Reenen’s Pass and Tugela Toll Plaza to a standstill on Friday are due in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

The N3 at Van Reenen's Pass is closed to traffic, and the Tugela Toll Plaza is closed due to a blockade by truckers. Picture: Facebook

Published Dec 5, 2021

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DURBAN - TWELVE truck drivers who brought traffic on both carriageways of the N3 highway between Van Reenen’s Pass and Tugela Toll Plaza to a standstill on Friday are due in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

Friday's blockade, which lasted several hours, follows an incident in October when the N3 was blocked by truckers who said they were calling for reform in the industry, including an end to the hiring of foreign truck drivers.

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Police said that on Friday, December 3, at about 3am numerous truck drivers parked their trucks across the N3, blocking both carriageways.

Provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said the drivers alighted from their vehicles causing traffic to come to a standstill for the entire day.

“The suspects had taken the keys of some of the trucks rendering them immovable for a long period of time,” he said.

Naicker said the SAPS and N3 Toll Concession and Road Traffic Inspectorate members responded and began the process of moving the vehicles that were blocking the N3 highway.

Various specialised units from across the province were mobilised and assisted in getting the trucks moved off the road which resulted in traffic beginning to flow, he said.

“Twelve truck drivers, whose vehicles were obstructing the flow of traffic and who defied instructions by police to remove their trucks were subsequently arrested,” said Naicker.

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Detectives from the Provincial Investigative Unit took charge of the investigation on the scene and the suspects were charged with contravention of the Criminal Law Amendment Act – infrastructure contravention, intimidation, economic sabotage as well as contravention of the Road Traffic Act.

Police said the suspects will appear in the Ladysmith Magistrates Court tomorrow.

On Friday, the Road Freight Association (RFA) said the transport and logistics industry was being held captive by those who prefer to work outside the law.

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“Violence and looting has occurred according to some reports – whilst individuals have taken the law into their own hands to pull drivers from trucks to check their personal documents. Law abiding transporters are being subjected to this, ” said RFA’s CEO Gavin Kelly.

IOL reported that Palesa Phili, the CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce, slammed the blockade.

“The KZN economy is extremely reliant on the N3 Corridor, as it serves as a critical trade route, connecting our two harbours to the SADC region. Hence, such behaviour cannot become a norm for addressing social issues in South Africa.

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“If these protest actions persist it will impact the entire value chain from trucking companies to the receiving businesses,” she said.

THE MERCURY

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