Picture: iSTOCK
Picture: iSTOCK

Easter holiday traffic on the country’s major national roads is threatened with disruption by a truck driver shutdown over the employment of foreign drivers.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande was advised by the Justice‚ Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster of the Cabinet about a planned shutdown of major routes and has called on law-enforcement authorities to arrest anybody disrupting the flow of traffic.

“I have been assured by the security cluster that it is ready to deal decisively with any such possible disruptions‚” Nzimande said in a statement.

“It is disingenuous and disturbing that after numerous meetings‚ which were followed by agreed recommendations between the government and the truck drivers’ associations‚ that today we are informed about this unfortunate development to block our roads.” 

The leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Association‚ in a joint media briefing with Nzimande‚ agreed on the implementation of the recommendations of the report. It is not clear, however, what the recommendations are.

A report of the inter-governmental task-team looking at the grievances lodged by SA truck drivers about the employment of foreign drivers has been handed to labour minister Mildred Oliphant by Nzimande. This was because it involved a labour dispute between employers and workers on the issue of employment of foreigners in the trucking industry.

Nzimande said any planned action to block roads would be a clear indication that the truck drivers’ associations are engaging government in bad faith.

Blocking roads will not only disrupt the flow of traffic‚ but is  tantamount to sabotaging the economy of the country‚ service delivery programmes and disrupting the Easter break of millions of South Africans‚ warned Nzimande.

Meanwhile‚ Comair moved to assure passengers that it has put contingency measures in place to ensure flights are not disrupted by a strike by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) over the Easter weekend.