Several families are in mourning after their loved ones fell victim to the wave of attacks on trucks. Government has been talking tough in response to the attacks but a feasible solution to the terrorism have not been implemented. A total of 84 attacks have been reported since April 2020, and various departments of government have been scrambling to find a way forward. The Road Freight Association has said that over 30 vehicles have been targeted but the Department of Labour is sticking to 13 regardless.
Food prices are set to rise due to the impact on the attacks have had on the transport industry. While there is a constant strong police presence on many highways, including the R59, many truck owners have opted to have their own security vehicles accompany trucks on route.
Xenophobia is believed to be the driving force behind the attacks with South African truck drivers demanding that only locals are employed. One man has died in the attacks and several others have been seriously injured and scores of drivers threatened in various incidents.
Busani Dlamini left his home in Ixopo, KZN, on Sunday last week. He was shot the next day in Alberton and his truck, which he was driving to Polokwane and back, was set alight and left burning close to his body. The 45-year-old Busani’s wife and three children are left to fend for themselves. His brother Leonard, said that Busani did not deserve to die in such a violent manner. “He was a breadwinner; he was like a father to us. We were the only remaining members of our family; our families have passed on.”
A colleague of Busani and his close friend said: “I am very scared, even now, I don’t know what to say. I can’t even sleep. Everyone is scared to drive on the roads.”
The Police Ministry is confident that the situation is being handled effectively but members of the industry disagree, especially given the resurgence and severity of attacks in the last month alone. Foreign truck drivers have also been excluded from talks looking into the violence.
SADC Crossdrivers Association has said that their fears and concerns have not been taken seriously. “We don’t want to attack our South African brothers, but what we are going to do is stop them from coming over the African borders. If they don’t want to live with us in their country, then they don’t need to be with us in our country.”
Meanwhile, the National Interfaith Council of South Africa has condemned the attacks.
“As members of the clergy we are saying no to the killing of people either from other countries or South Africa. We are saying no to killing. We respect the right to life as protected by the Constitution,” said the council’s advocate Abigail Ngobeni.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, meanwhile, said at least 25 people had been arrested in the last few weeks related to attacks on trucks.
Government has set up a ministerial committee to look into issues including legislation relating to migration and employment in the hopes of resolving the impasse.