Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula says that the Ministry of Home Affairs is leading a task team of ministries tasked with addressing the instability in the trucking industry. South African truck drivers have been calling for companies to replace foreign drivers with citizens.
Mbalula said the government was working on reserving some jobs for South Africans only.
He was responding to questions about the government’s plans on resolving the impasse between the South African truck drivers and trucking companies over the employment of foreign nationals.
All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) has led several protests as local truck drivers demanded freight companies stop employing foreign nationals as truck drivers.
The shutdown and protests brought about instability in the industry, with several trucks torched and drivers murdered, causing millions in lost revenue.
Mbalula said given the situation of unemployment in the country, truck driving could not be defined as a scarce skill.
He said the law should defend South Africans in terms of what was a scarce skill and what were the jobs that foreign nationals could do in the country.
“With the Covid-19 situation in our hands, these are some of the things that we have to address in terms of our regulations and laws in the country.
“We have also seen other countries on the African continent doing the same thing.”
Mbalula referred to Ghana, where they have now stepped up the law to say that certain jobs were preserved for Ghanaians.
“It’s not xenophobic. It’s simply obedience to the laws of the country.
“South Africans must also equally do the same. There are certain jobs in the country that must be preserved for South Africans only. It cannot be a given in our society to accept that our people are lazy and don’t want to do certain jobs. We must regulate.”
He said the government was considering regulating other jobs.
“This is a reality we have to deal with. But we must move with speed also to deal with the law to ensure that we preserve certain jobs for our people,” he said, adding that it was important given the state of the economy and the joblessness in the country.