One of the three trucks that were burnt on the N3 on Sunday. Picture: Ekurhuleni Emergency Services.
One of the three trucks that were burnt on the N3 on Sunday. Picture: Ekurhuleni Emergency Services.

It's pure criminality - Satawu blasts torching of nine trucks in two days

By BOTHO MOLOSANKWE Time of article published Nov 6, 2019

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Johannesburg - Police are looking for suspects who burnt six trucks in Mpumalanga on Monday night.

One truck was burnt in Hendrina, four at Arnot and the sixth truck was reportedly set alight in Kriel. 

The burning of these trucks came a day after three were burnt on the N3 highway on Sunday night.

One of the drivers whose truck was burnt said the arsonists accused him of working while a strike was going on.

However, spokesperson of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) Zanele Sabela said there was no strike going on and said those that keep burning the trucks were faceless people who needed to be found and held accountable.

The first three trucks were burnt on Sunday night on the N3 within minutes of each other.

None of the drivers were there when fire fighters rushed to the scene.

The following night, one of the drivers whose trucks was burnt in Mpumalanga told police that he was sleeping in his parked truck in Hendrina when he was awoken by a noise of a breaking window of the truck and someone ordering him out of the vehicle.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi of the Mpumalanga Police said the man stated that seven other people joined the one who had told him to get out of the truck.

"The suspect that initially ordered him to get out of the truck allegedly took out a box of matches and set alight the blankets that were inside the truck.

"The suspects reportedly fled the scene in a White Toyota Corolla after noticing that police were coming. Police gave chase to the suspects and they have not been arrested yet."

Hlathi said in another incident in Arnot, allegations were that one of the truck drivers was ordered to take out his belongings by an unknown man who also accused him of being among people who continued to work while others were on strike.

"Thereafter the said driver saw other trucks that were in the same queue with the one he was in, burning. The reports suggest that the trucks were queuing to deliver coal at Arnot Power Station.

"The estimated damage caused by the burning of these trucks can amount to approximately R5-million and no arrest have been made as yet.

At this stage police are investigating cases of malicious damage to property and request anyone with information that can lead to the arrest of the suspects involved in burning of the trucks," Hlathi said

Sabela believes that the recent arson attacks stems from a message that was circulated on WhatsAap in the beginning of September calling for a shutdown of the industry and warning those that dare show up for work that they will be harmed.

Sabela said the grievance of those people at the time was that companies were employing foreign nationals.

"This is obviously a follow up of that because there is no strike going on. If people have legitimate concerns, there are legitimate structures to address those concerns. These people are effectively affecting the economy by burning trucks. This is pure criminality," she said.

The Star

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