Two trucks were set alight on Monday morning in Alamein road, near Nagel Park in Montclair. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency(ANA)
Johannesburg - The recent torching and looting of trucks and intimidation of foreign truck drivers was a clear indication of the desperation and frustration of unemployed South Africans, a crisis that needed urgent government intervention, experts say.

The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal have seen numerous incidents of trucks being looted recently, as tensions in the trucking industry refuse to die down.

The crisis led to the ministers of transport, home affairs, police and labour convening a meeting on Sunday to deliberate the issue of violent protest action and to come up with solutions to quell tensions.

Analysts have urged the government to treat issues in the industry with a sense of urgency before they spiral out of control.

George Glynos, an economist with Econometrix Treasury Management, said: “I’m not just referring to the trucks; it’s a broader picture, if you look at the looting and riots and what is going on all around Johannesburg and other places. If people had jobs they wouldn’t be doing this; if people weren’t feeling as desperate as they were they wouldn’t be rioting, protesting and resorting to criminality.

“It’s a sign of desperation and a sign of frustration at the lack of any progress made on an economic level.”

He said this was a macro-economic issue that the government needed to sort out.

Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said: “People are feeling that the government does not listen to them when they raise concerns in a peaceful manner. The trucking sector is in serious trouble, and there is a feeling that the government does not have a clear sense on how to regulate the industry.”

Political Bureau