The Congress of South African Trade Unions is concerned by government’s sluggish pace in dealing with the issue of illegal and foreign truck drivers that has led in freeway blockades and violent incidents in some parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The recent closure of the N3 route is a clear sign that many truck drivers are extremely frustrated by government’s indifference and lethargic response to their cries.
COSATU calls on Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande to treat this matter as an urgent priority and expedite the process of bringing all the role-players together for an urgent solution.
The federation totally condemns the violence and the illegal closure of the roads and we view this as identical to economic sabotage. Government needs to understand though that the high rate of unemployment and the severe exploitation of these truck drivers by the truck companies is behind this contempt for the rule of law.
The failure by relevant government departments to enforce the country’s immigration and labour laws is the source of the problem.
Many workers in the freight and trucking industry continue to lose their jobs to illegal foreign nationals. There is an urgent need to deal with the terrible corrupted system that has not only destroyed the livelihoods of many workers but that is the source of many accidents on our roads.
These workers are even afraid to take their off-days because when they come back they discover that they have been replaced by these illegal workers.
It is not enough for the Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande, Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba and Labour Mildred Oliphant to keep making threatening statements of condemnation directed at angry striking workers and empty threats towards exploitative employers without any action.
Few months ago, during the Easter Holidays, these workers were promised action by the Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande and MEC Thomas Kaunda but all they keep on to seeing is government’s paralysis by analysis. All of these government’s protracted inquiries do not seem to deliver tangible results on time, while worker’s lives are destroyed by arrogant and indifferent employers.
The fact that ministers have become a reactive fire brigade force is a sign of government’s failure to govern and to legislate in a decisive manner.
Our government needs to realise that protests and riots are a language of the unheard and they need to decisively deal with the litany of concerns and irritations that workers have repeatedly raised with them.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794