Police minister Bheki Cele speaks to the media at a briefing in Durban on Monday about the torching of trucks and attacks on truck drivers in KwaZulu-Natal. He is pictured with transport minister Fikile Mbalula and KwaZulu-Natal premier, Sihle Zikala. Photo by Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA).

DURBAN - A truck was torched on the N2 Umgeni interchange on Monday night, just hours after a clutch of ministers, owner representatives, and labour leaders met in Durban to address the escalation in attacks on trucks and drivers in KwaZulu-Natal. 

The eThekwini Municipality confirmed the latest incident on Monday night, saying a truck had been torched "a few hours ago". 

It was unclear at the time of publication if anyone was injured in the attack. 

Earlier in the day, KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala, police minister Bheki Cele, transport minister Fikile Mbalula, home affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi, labour minister Thulas Nxesi and national police commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, held a press briefing about the outcomes of stakeholder engagement meetings on Sunday and Monday with the intention of ending the violence. 

"The incident comes hot on the heels of more than 15 trucks that were alleged to have been petrol bombed on Monday in the Cato Ridge area. This resulted in the N3 coming to a standstill to the detriment of the logistics industry and the Durban Port," said the municipality. 

In the past year, KwaZulu-Natal has experienced frequent attacks on trucks, with many of them being torched along the N3 highway, a critical transport route between the Durban port and inland. 

Local drivers have allegedly been attacking the vehicles and threatening foreign drivers, who they accuse of taking jobs meant for locals. The disgruntled drivers also accuse truck company owners of hiring foreigners over locals.  

“These incidents are of major concern and we have been enduring them since April last year. We are a city that is home to the biggest port in Africa where trucks every minute come in and out, transporting goods urgently needed somewhere. If we do not nip this illicit behaviour in the bud, it will bring the economy of this country and the SADC region to its knees," said eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, via a statement on Monday night.  

"The N3 connects this harbour and Gauteng - the economic hub of sub-Saharan Africa if not the entire continent. When the N3 cease to operate for an hour, the economies of all countries in the region bleed billions,” said Gumede.

At Monday's press briefing, Advocate Pria Hassan, representing the trucking industry through the Positive Freight Solutions Forum, said that over 60 trucks had been attacked in the past three weeks. 

African News Agency (ANA)