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Watch: Transporters Worried as Armed Group Takes Hundreds of Trucks from N2 to Secluded Place near Richards Bay

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Transporters have expressed concern after unknown community members removed trucks queuing for the Richards Bay Port from the N2 and parked them at a secluded place near Richards Bay without their consent last night.

It’s alleged that the community members, who were armed, instructed the drivers to follow them to this area which is believed to be an old airport.

Some reports have fingered the local business forum to be behind the move but this could not be immediately confirmed.

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In a video by one of the organisers, he can be heard saying they have pulled about 829 trucks from the N2 and parked them at the old airport.

Upon receiving messages from their drivers, transporters became worried about the safety of their drivers, their trucks and the cargo as the said place is not secured.

Read | Dangers you should be aware of on the deadly N2 between Ermelo and Richards Bay

Truck drivers reported that the group of men did not want to hear any stories, they just wanted everyone off the N2 and to proceed to the place that they identified. They did not give drivers any other choice.

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The group has told drivers that they would use the place as a staging area for the port.

Watch: Transporters Worried as Armed Group Takes Hundreds of Trucks from N2 to Secluded Place near Richards Bay
Watch: Transporters Worried as Armed Group Takes Hundreds of Trucks from N2 to Secluded Place near Richards Bay

Transporters are concerned that if this is done without the involvement of relevant stakeholders, it could lead to more chaos.

Earlier on Friday morning, the group allegedly demanded a meeting with transport owners, minister of transport and Transnet before the trucks could be released.

Yesterday, the side tipper trucks blocked both the N2 north and south carriageways causing a traffic standstill on the busy national route.

The huge influx of heavy vehicles has forced Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) to call on freight owners to stop sending trucks to the port for the next 48 hours.

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The congestion has been made worse by the SANDF Armed Forces day which was recently held at the harbour.

According to Phumelele Cele, the terminal manager of TPT Terminals in Richards Bay, the terminal has been overwhelmed with a massive influx of road motor transport.

This has caused uncontrollable traffic both within and surrounding the port, affecting the terminal’s operations and the N2.

Mike Patterson, the deputy president of the Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has described the situation as “completely out of control,” requiring urgent national intervention, as the number of trucks exceeds what the N2 and the port can handle, creating a humanitarian crisis for the truck drivers who are stuck in the backlog without access to basic amenities such as food and drink or restroom facilities.

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal road traffic inspectorate spokesperson, Zinhle Mngomezulu, stated that they are investigating the cause of the situation, but have no control over what happens in the port as their mandate is to ensure the free flow of traffic.

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