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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Disgruntled ATDFASA says government only talks to us when we shutdown the highways

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All Truck Drivers Foundation Allied South Africa (ATDFASA) is seeking a meeting with the ministerial task team set up to deal with employment issues in the freight industry, to find out what has been done to tackle their problems.

The task team, which includes the departments of Home Affairs, Labour, Transport and Police, was formed in June 2019 after a number of attacks on trucks, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

At the time it was alleged that the truck attacks were being carried out by disgruntled local truck drivers who claimed that foreigners were being given preference for jobs in the industry. However, local truck driver organisations have denied involvement in the violence.

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The task team is led by the KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi.

While local truck driver organisations have denied involvement in the violence, they have demanded that locals should be given preference in the industry.

The All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied South Africa (ATDFASA), representing local truck drivers, said that truck owners were overlooking local truck drivers and employing foreign nationals for cheap labour.

ATDFASA secretary Sifiso Nyathi said that the government’s feedback to them was long overdue.

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He said they had last met with the task team after a mass shutdown last November.

Nyathi accused the government of laziness and said it didn’t take the matter of the unemployed local truck drivers seriously.

He said that during their last meeting last year, a number of interventions were discussed but nothing was done.

“We have realised that whenever they make time to talk to us, it’s when drivers decide to take their frustration to the streets. After that, they (go) missing in action again until the next shutdown,” he said.

Nyathi added that they had been trying since January this year to get the KZN provincial government to meet them.

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“It is clear that the only way they talk to us is when there is a shutdown. Since there is nothing being done, the drivers’ frustration is growing.”

KZN provincial government spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said a meeting was planned with relevant stakeholders to report back on their interventions.

He said the meeting was expected to take place before the end of this month. The technical teams involved in the matter were currently arranging the meeting.

“We have also been engaging with the ATDFASA in this matter. There are also engagements with many departments and the South African Revenue Service to monitor compliance by businesses,” Mabaso said.

He added that, through their interventions, many of the foreign nationals who were in the country illegally, and working in the freight industry, had been arrested.

The Mercury

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