Durban – The violent attacks on trucks in KwaZulu-Natal has had a major impact on the Durban Fresh Produce Market.
The eThekwini Municipality said the Clairwood-based market had been affected, as a number of trucks had not reached the market since Sunday.
This comes after the resurgence of violent attacks on trucks in KwaZulu-Natal since Saturday after local truck drivers called for a nationwide protest.
Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that it had been a challenge for some of the producers to transport their produce to the market.
“A substantial number of loads were either not sent to the market by farmers or alternatively were redirected to other areas/customers.
“The market is extremely popular and is utilised by different categories of buyers, small and big.”
According to the city, on average, more than 800 buyers utilise the market on a daily basis.
An agent at the market, who buys fresh produce from the producers to sell to clients, including big retailers, said there were usually more than 20 trucks that arrived daily.
“Things are bad here since Sunday.
“On Monday, we had about five trucks that arrived with our stock and today (yesterday) there was just one truck that came in.
“Some of the trucks arrive here very late, as they have to use alternative routes, which causes delays and more expenses.
“The logistics companies told us that it’s a risk to keep on transporting the products due to the trucks being burnt.
“Other companies now have problems with insurance which is why they decided not to transport for now.”
Another agent said they would be left with no choice but to increase the prices of the products.
“If you have less stock than you usually do, obviously that affects the profit that you make a day.
“Usually I make hundreds of thousands a day, but after these incidents, it keeps on decreasing.
“We really hope this will end soon because it really impacts our business and profit.”
A vegetable and fruit shop owner from Chatsworth said if he was forced to buy fresh produce at higher prices, he would also have to increase the prices of his goods for consumers.
“Everyone wants to make a profit; that why we are in business.
“So if this violence also doesn’t end, eventually we will have to increase our prices and that will affect the communities we operate in.”
Professor Jannie Rossouw, head of the School of Economic and Business Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand, said the burning of trucks was affecting the country’s economy.
Rossouw said the trucks play a major role in transporting goods all over and with the violence not ending, it would result in huge costs pressure.
“In this regard, communities are going to be affected the most if it doesn’t end.”
Source: The Mercury