Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has called for stronger policing action and for law enforcement to be doubled along the N3 highway, and for attacks on public roads to be upgraded to a higher category of criminality.
Mbalula said in a statement on Sunday he had learned with great disappointment of the continuation of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal’s trucking industry.
On June 3, an inter-ministerial team of ministers came together in Durban for three days to meet stakeholders and to address the violent attacks and their impact on freight transport, particularly on the N3 highway, he said.
A plan was devised, which included the establishment of a multi-disciplinary rapid response team, the cessation of illegal employment of undocumented migrants, the implementation of skills development initiatives for local drivers, the creation of a database of unemployed drivers, and a review of work permit legislation.
''Despite the intervention, violence has continued to flare, threatening to render the N3 unusable, a situation that is clearly unacceptable. There is to be no terror on our roads. Such activities do not only terrorise the freight sector, but the general populace which uses our roads and is entitled to safe use, free of violence,'' he said.
Mbalula echoed calls for stronger policing action and for law enforcement to be doubled along the highway and connecting routes. “The inter-departmental task team is making progress and should be given room to do its work - violence and terror is not how we are going to solve this.''
Attacks on public roads should be upgraded to a higher category of criminality, especially as government was engaged to resolve the legitimate concerns of local drivers. Acts of arson undermined the genuine concerns of industry players and perpetrators should desist or face the full might of the law.
Mbalula also pledged his support for law enforcement officials, calling for the perpetrators of the arson attacks to be brought to book swiftly. “We cannot allow for any parts of the country to be declared a no go zone,” he said.