Survey reveals alarming trends in the SME road freight sector

21st June 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Sixty-eight per cent of small and medium-sized road-freight companies have inadequate vehicle maintenance programmes. 

This neglect of proper maintenance increases the risk of mechanical failures, leading to accidents and disruptions in supply chains.

This was one of the findings of an online survey conducted by JC Auditors (JCA) within South Africa’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) road-freight sector. 

The survey was conducted to evaluate safety practices in the trucking industry.

JCA MD Oliver Naidoo says key findings from the survey indicate a widespread absence of robust safety protocols, which jeopardises the well-being of both heavy vehicle drivers and public road users.

“It also has a significant economic impact, especially when considering that the last Road Traffic Management Corporation report indicated the cost of crashes to be R142-billion, or 3.4% of gross domestic product.”

The JCA survey also revealed a lack of compliance with the relevant requirements of the National Road Traffic Act (NTRA) and other industry standards, with 64% of participating companies lacking proper compliance measures.

Perhaps the most alarming discovery was that 87% of companies did not actively monitor their compliance with the legal mass limits outlined in the NTRA.

Seventy-two per cent of respondents also reported insufficient driver training. 

Seventy-eight per cent of companies also indicated that drivers were not assessed for medical fitness on a yearly basis, with 92% of companies unaware of whether any of their drivers suffered from chronic illnesses.

Naidoo expresses grave concern regarding these findings, highlighting the urgency for collaboration among industry stakeholders, regulatory bodies, and government authorities to address the deficiencies within the SME road freight sector.

He says companies can take several steps to remedy the situation, including developing a robust safety policy, enhancing driver selection and training, and rolling out driver monitoring systems.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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