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Unrest continues despite government intervention

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has expressed disappointment at the ongoing trucking industry unrest in KwaZulu-Natal.

In a statement on Sunday, the department said the unrest continues despite government intervention in the long-standing impasse.

Last week, an inter-ministerial team of ministers met with stakeholders for three days to address the violent attacks and their impact on freight transport, particularly on the N3 highway.

“A plan was devised, which included the establishment of a multi-disciplinary rapid response team, the cessation of illegal employment of undocumented migrants, the implementation of skills development initiatives for local drivers, the creation of a database of unemployed drivers and a review of work permit legislation,” the department said in the statement.

“Despite the intervention, violence continued to flare, threatening to render the N3 unusable, a situation that is clearly unacceptable. There is to be no terror on our roads. Such activities do not only terrorize the freight sector but the general populace which uses our roads and is entitled to safe use, free of violence.”

The department said Minister Mbalula was echoing calls for stronger policing action and for law enforcement to be doubled along the highway and connecting routes, saying: “The interdepartmental task team is making progress and should be given room to do its work – violence and terror is not how we are going to solve this”.

Mbalula added that attacks on public roads must be upgraded to a higher category of criminality especially since government is engaged to resolve the legitimate concerns of local drivers.

The Minister says acts of arson undermine the genuine concerns of industry players and has urged perpetrators to desist or face the full might of the law.

“Mbalula has also pledged his support to law enforcement officials, calling for the perpetrators of the arson attacks to be brought to book swiftly,” read the statement.

The Minister added that the government cannot allow any parts of the country to be declared a no go zone.

(Edited by Johanna Molokomme)

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