Minister Blade Nzimande condemns closure of N3 highway by truck drivers

Transport Minister condemns the closure of the N3 highway by some truck drivers

The Minister of Transport strongly condemns the blockade of the Cliffdale part of the N3 highway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban by some truck drivers on Sunday 24 March 2019.

We urge the law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who break the law and disrupt the flow of traffic are apprehended and for the trucks to be impounded.

It is disingenuous for some truck drivers to block the road or engage in any protest whist there are current engagements between government and the foundations, said Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande further said that by blocking the N3 these truck drivers not only block the traffic flow but also sabotage the economy of the country.

Since the resolution of the meeting Minister Nzimande held on January 11, 2019, the Department of Transport held follow-up meetings with the leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Foundation to discuss challenges facing South African truck drivers.

Subsequent to these meetings, an interdepartmental team comprising of the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Labour, the Bargaining Council held its meetings to further process the issues as raised by the trucking foundations.

The Department of Transport took the initiative to get the relevant stakeholders to resolve the matter as a labour dispute because this had unfairly impacted on the flow of transport on our highways, said Minister Nzimande.

The Department of Transport wish to state that the dispute between truck drivers and their employers is not a matter for our department, but is a collective bargaining matter that must be negotiated and resolved at the relevant Collective Bargaining Council.

The Department of Labour was task to conduct unannounced inspections to unscrupulous employers disregarding employment laws and the law enforcement officers were tasked to identify routes with high volumes of cross border truck movement and conduct multi-disciplinary road block operations.

We have also consistently impressed on the associations representing workers in a number of meetings we have held, for them to take up their grievances to the appropriate bargaining chamber and not block our highways. Similarly, we have met and urged employers to work towards resolving the grievances of truck drivers speedily, whose major complaint is the employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry, said Minister Nzimande.

Minister Nzimande further said that whilst we have done all to assist towards the resolution of this dispute, this matter must be dealt with not as a transport issue but as a labour dispute.

Minister Nzimande urge all affected parties to work towards a speedy resolution of this matter and further urge our sister department to take the lead as agreed.

Source: Government of South Africa