Durban - Business, labour and government stakeholders have signed an agreement that could see an end to truck protests on the N3.
Last week, aggrieved truck drivers lined their vehicles along parts of the highway, causing major traffic disruptions along the busy route. Four people were arrested and charged with obstructing a national route, damaging or interfering with essential infrastructure, and economic sabotage.
Speaking after the meeting, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said they are committed to working on the issues raised to put and end to the blockages.
“As the signatories, we bind ourselves to this compact and shall ensure that all our members will comply with its provisions, respect the rights of all road users, and undertake to pursue its objectives," he said.
Mbalula explained that the shutdown and violent activities against foreign truckers dates back to 2018.
Today marks a milestone in a road we have travelled in finding consensus around issues you had raised with government.— FIKILE MBALULA | MR FIX (@MbalulaFikile) June 20, 2022
As we unveil the Task Team and sign this compact, which clearly outlines the Implementation Plan. pic.twitter.com/IuYefzuSHU
The action plan will allow for the facilitation of a team, enforce VISA requirements and the need for consideration of all foreign driving licences.
There will also be registration and compliance of labour laws, and operators in compliance with the National Road Traffic Act. There will also be a review of the Traffic Register Number, Cross-Border Road Traffic Legislation as well as an integrated joint multi-disciplinary law enforcement operations, the implementation of a driver training programme, and consideration of the introduction of operating licences for the industry.
The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC said the KZN economy is extremely reliant on the N3 Corridor – it is a critical trade route that connects harbours to the inland, a key import and export route, as well as domestic trade route for all sectors.
“Hence, such behaviour cannot become a norm for addressing social issues in South Africa, when so many other functional platforms exist.
“These acts cannot only be viewed as acts of sabotage towards the businesses directly affected, but this affects all members of society, due to the far-reaching economic consequences of these illegal actions,” the Chamber’s Nigel Ward said.