DURBAN - LOCAL truck drivers have threatened to intensify their actions against foreign nationals employed in the freight industry in the coming weeks.
This past weekend in Richards Bay, truck drivers were stopped by a group of men, who questioned them about their nationality and threatened them. The incidents were captured in videos which were circulated on social media platforms.
In a video seen by The Mercury, a driver was threatened and told to immediately quit his job. The man, who identified himself as Mbuso Mnisi from Mbabane, in Swaziland, was told that the cargo in his truck must go back to the depot.
A voice of a man, who appeared to be recording the video, is heard exchanging words with Mnisi saying: “From this moment, we don’t want to see you driving here again.
“We advise you to pass this message along to your friends who are also foreign truck drivers. If you come back here, you will face consequences.”
The man is also heard telling Mnisi that the truck would be driven by a local truck driver back to the depot, where he should officially resign.
In another video, a driver from Lesotho can be seen wiping his bloody face with a jersey while a group holding sjamboks tell him to leave his truck.
The All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa, a group representing local truck drivers, confirmed that they had received reports about the incidents.
Forum member Sfiso Nyathi said the people involved in those incidents did not receive instructions from the forum, adding that they did not condone violent acts.
But Nyathi said the drivers were angry and were taking matters into their own hands as they viewed it as the only option to get rid of foreign drivers in the freight industry.
“For more than four years, we have been engaging on this matter and yet there is no tangible solution. Talking never helps, it has never helped us before and it never will.
“There is no person who can be patient for a solution for more than four years. The task team has proved to be useless to us; we are going to see more of this until this matter is resolved,” he said.
One of the local truck drivers from Richards Bay said the situation would escalate as local truck drivers were looking to close Richards Bay Port.
“We are taking this matter into our own hands. We are chasing these foreigners as we are tired of being unemployed while they are working. They must go back to their countries. We will close down Richards Bay Harbour, we are tired,” he said.
A task team of government departments including Home Affairs, Labour, Police and Transport, was formed in June 2019 after trucks were torched, especially in KZN. Department of Labour spokesperson Musa Zondi said they had met local drivers’ representatives to finalise the matter and the recommendations had been submitted to Cabinet for approval.