Truck drivers’ cries heard

File photo.
File photo.

THE Inter-Ministerial Committee met in Tshwane on Monday, 20 June, to discuss an action plan on the truck driver protest.

The committee comprises of the departments of transport, employment and labour, police and home affairs as well as other stakeholders.

Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi said the protest was a response by truck drivers based on their perceptions that the industry was employing foreign nationals at the exclusion of South African drivers.

Nxesi said inspections and law enforcement operations had found that truck driving was an abundant skill and not a scarce one. The stakeholders in the freight and trucking industry agreed on a new action plan. Wendy Mtshali from Road Freight Bargaining Council said: “We are comfortable with the agreement reached by the task team. The action plan will address the problems of employing foreign nationals.”

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the agreement was not a movie or photoshoot, but real work.

“When we don’t agree, we will negotiate. It is not going to be easy going forward on some of the issues,” he said.

Mbalula also said as stakeholders they need to distance themselves from blockages of roads and violence.

Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the Department of Home Affairs had no capacity alone to decide what skills everyone needed.

“We ask the Department of Higher Education, which works with universities and institutions like the Human Science Research Council, to develop a scarce list,” he said.

President of Truckers Association of South Africa, Mary Padi said: “It’s important that the industry be regulated and a call for the urgent, reintroduction of operating licenses in South Africa.”

The committee said 213 foreign truck drivers were arrested and found to be in contravention of immigration laws, with 19 in possession of fraudulent documentation.

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