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Foreign Truck Drivers Stay-away Over Attacks by Locals Starts on Monday

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Durban – The United Truck Drivers Association (UTDA) representing foreign truck drivers in South Africa has announced that they are going ahead with their stay-away protest from Monday 31 January 2022 until the 4th of February 2022.

UTDA says their protest is aimed at raising awareness about the acts of violence and intimidation foreign truck drivers are facing at the hands of some local truck drivers.

In recent years some local truck drivers have been advocating for foreign truck drivers to be removed from their jobs and be replaced by locals. They accuse migrant truck drivers of stealing their jobs, accepting below minimum wages and working more than they are paid for.

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Unscrupulous employers allegedly prefer employing them so that they can take advantage of their vulnerability.

When the government could not act fast enough, the local truck drivers allegedly started burning trucks trying to force the government to act.

Through negotiations with stakeholders in the road freight and logistics industries and the government, the burning of trucks stopped. But, that was the beginning of intimidation and harassment aimed at foreign truck drivers.

Speaking to SA Trucker, UTDA spokesman Phillip Mukwande, urged the government to intervene and stop the harassment they have endured daily from their local counterparts.

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Read also: Foreign Truck Driver Lucky To Escape After Petrol Bomb Attack Near Ladysmith

“So many cases of harassment, assault and destruction of documentation have been reported to the police but no arrests have ever been made. We call on the government to act swiftly and arrest those who take the law into their own hands,” Mukwande said.

He added that many of the incidents are filmed by the perpetrators who go on to post on social media, but still, with that evidence, the police have not made any arrests.

“Some of the attacks happen in front of police officers but they don’t do anything to protect us, it’s so painful,” Mukwande said.

He said that the loathful group of South African truck drivers unlawfully stop them while driving and confiscate their documents which they are supposed to use every day during the course of their work.

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“Our members have lost driver’s licenses and passports to this group. You can imagine the stress they go through in trying to replace those documents, at the same time while not being able to fend for their families,” added Mukwande.

He asked the government to step up its efforts to protect them from their attackers.

The stay-away will hinder the recovery economy which is still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Mukwande said that business will not be as usual from Monday as UTDA members will stay at home.

Asked about how he thinks the stay-away will affect the economy, Mukwande said, “We have members who are in the FMCG, Courier, Express Haulage, side tippers, container freight, cross border, local haulage working daily in and out of the country’s ports and other sectors who will not report for work from Monday, that should tell you how the economy will be affected.”

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