File picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA)

Pretoria - The spate of attacks on trucks on some roads around the country is "economic sabotage" perpetrated by criminal elements and steps are being taken to counter the problem, the relevant ministers said on Sunday.

The road freight and logistics sector truck drivers associations had distanced themselves from the planned strike on September 1 and 2.

"However, acts of threats and violence, including the burning of trucks, took place," Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Police Minister Bheki Cele, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, and Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said in a joint statement after an urgent meeting on Sunday evening.

The meeting was held to receive a report on the progress made to address the continued violence in the sector as well as plotting a way forward, the statement said.

The ministers condemned the ongoing violence and agreed that it was "nothing but economic sabotage threatening the economic viability" of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

The meeting emphasised that the acts of sabotage were "spearheaded by criminal elements that are responsible for the blockages, burning of trucks and assets, as well as the intimidation and killing of truck drivers in the sector".

The outcome of the discussions included:

- Law enforcement would ensure that the authority of the state was not undermined and increase visibility in violent hot spots;

- The Ministers agreed that through the department of international relations and cooperation, regional counterparts should be engaged to address this matter;

- There would be continuous joint inspections taking place in all provinces to ensure compliance in the sector; and

- The task team had agreed to develop a clear action plan and provide regular updates on the progress made to the joint inter-ministerial task team.

"The meeting further noted that the events are turning more violent and criminal; the South African Police Service will continue to act against any acts of lawlessness. It is important to note that South Africa is not a xenophobic country and whoever is found on the wrong side of the law will be dealt with," the statement said.

African News Agency/ANA