Johannesburg - The minister of transport, Blade Nzimande, on Monday condemned the blockade of the Cliffdale area on the N3 highway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban by a group of truck drivers.
"We urge the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who break the law and disrupt the flow of traffic are apprehended and for the trucks to be impounded," said Nzimande via a press release.
“It is disingenuous for some truck drivers to block the road or engage in any protest while there are current engagements between government and the foundations."
He said that by blocking the N3 the truckers were "sabotaging" the country's economy.
In January 2019, the department met with leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Foundation to discuss "challenges" facing the industry. This followed a series of blockades during the festive season.
"The Department of Transport took the initiative to get the relevant stakeholders to resolve the matter as a labour dispute because this had unfairly impacted on the flow of transport on our highways," said Nzimande.
He said that the dispute between truck drivers and their employers was not a departmental issue. It was a collective bargaining matter that should be negotiated and resolved at the relevant collective bargaining council.
Nzimande said the Department of Labour was tasked with conducting unannounced inspections at the premises of allegedly unscrupulous employers who had been accused of flouting labour laws. Enforcement officers were tasked with identifying routes with high volumes of cross-border truck movements and conducting multi-disciplinary roadblocks.
"We have also consistently impressed on the associations representing workers in a number of meetings we have held, for them to take up their grievances to the appropriate bargaining chamber and not block our highways."
"Similarly, we have met and urged employers to work towards resolving the grievances of truck drivers speedily, whose major complaint is the employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry," said Nzimande.