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Major roads across KZN clear for traffic flow after fears of N2, N3 truck blockades

Social media posts had warned of possible truck blockades on key routes across KZN today over protests by local truck drivers unhappy about the employment of foreign nationals. There was a truck blockade on the N3 in the Free State on Tuesday

File Picture: Vehicles approaching the Mariannhill Toll Plaza on the N3. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jun 15, 2022

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DURBAN - Major roads across KwaZulu-Natal were clear for traffic flow this morning with no reports of disruptions due to protests by truck drivers.

Yesterday there were major traffic jams on the N3 north- and south-bound lanes in the Free State after trucks blocked both lanes near the Reitz interchange between Warden and Villiers.

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Traffic flow was disrupted for more than six hours, but the blockade was eventually cleared yesterday afternoon.

The truck blockade has been linked to protests by local truck drivers over the long-standing issue of the employment of foreign nationals in the sector.

Posts on social media yesterday warned of protest action today by truckers on major interchanges and at toll plazas across Durban including on the N2 at eManzimtoti and Tongaat and the N3 at Mariannhill and at Hammarsdale among other areas.

However by 9am today, no disruptions related to protest action were reported on these routes by social media traffic groups and radio traffic reports.

The N3 Toll Concession also tweeted that the highway from Cedara to Heidelberg was clear this morning.

Yesterday, the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDFASA) denied involvement in the Free State blockade, but said they strongly supported the action.

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Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula condemned the blockade, saying: “I have been working with Minister (Thulas) Nxesi, of Labour and Employment, and Minister (Aaron) Motsoaledi of Home Affairs and affected stakeholders to address the issues previously raised by the truck drivers and small truck operators.”

He said a number of engagements were held with stakeholders, and they were on the verge of an agreement that would clear the path for the implementation of the agreed interventions.

“We will not tolerate lawlessness in the form of the blockading of roads, as this not only sabotages economic activity, but undermines the rights of others to use the roads.”

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Mbalula said that law-enforcement agencies would not hesitate to act against those resorting to unlawful conduct to voice their grievances.

“The Road Traffic Management Corporation and other law-enforcement authorities will implement measures to ensure the roads are reopened and normal traffic activity resumes.”

ATDFASA secretary Sifiso Nyathi said the organisation supported the truck drivers who were involved in the Free State blockade.

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“At the end of the day, local drivers are tired of foreign drivers being employed. Employers are arrogant. We have been engaging in meetings with them for a long time, and have yet to see any results. We want to see our local truck drivers employed.”

Nyathi added that ATDFASA believed that the government had not done enough to assist local drivers.

“The government told us that they would be addressing the situation, however they haven’t done enough for us to ensure employment for local truck drivers. Employers are also a problem as they don’t want to employ local drivers because they don’t want to provide benefits, so they prefer to employ foreign drivers whom they can pay less money with no benefits.”

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