‘Any truck is fair game’: Terror as rampant attacks leave one driver dead
Industry leaders say government has ‘no political will’ to solve the problem, with 30 trucks attacked last week alone
Tensions in the trucking industry have reached boiling point after a 45-year-old truck driver was shot and killed on Monday night.
On Tuesday, Gauteng police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele said they were investigating a case of murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property following an incident in Leondale, Alberton, where a man was shot and killed, another injured and a truck set alight.
"Police responded to a crime scene near the N3 on-ramp towards Heidelberg, and found a truck and trailer on fire. Next to the truck was a man bleeding from gunshot wounds. He was rushed to a nearby hospital for urgent medical attention. While combing the scene, police found a second victim in the veld with gunshot and burn wounds to the upper body. This second victim, a 45-year-old male employee of a trucking company in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, was declared dead on the scene."
That same evening a truck driver reported he was driving on Black Reef Road in Roodekop, Alberton, en route to the trucking company, when he noticed three men in balaclavas alight from a Hyundai i20 with an unknown registration number.
“The complainant reported he jumped out of the truck and fled when the three men started firing shots at the vehicle. On his return he found the truck on fire. The complainant escaped uninjured. A case of malicious damage to property has been opened for investigation.”
In Vosloorus, a 27-year-old truck driver was travelling from Springs to a recycling company in Booysens, Johannesburg, when he was allegedly hijacked.
“The truck was set alight by unknown suspects near Extension 25 in Volsoorus. The driver managed to escape without injuries. Police are investigating a case of hijacking and malicious damage to property.”
Makhubele said a multi-disciplinary team has been deployed to urgently address the increase in attacks on trucks.
“Five suspects were arrested for intimidation on Monday after a group of about 40 people arrived at a freight company in Alberton, demanding jobs. It is reported the group grew agitated when one of the company seniors advanced to hand them application forms for employment. Their court appearance is yet to be confirmed.”
On Monday, members of the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied SA (ATDFASA) teamed up with members of the National Truck Drivers Federation (NTDF) to march to the port in Durban to hand over a memorandum to Transnet.
Their demands were that no foreign national should be allowed to drive, offload or load SA registered trucks in the harbour.
ATDFASA and NTDF then turned their attention to Durban’s CBD, joining forces with members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association to storm through the streets, demanding the removal of foreign nationals operating in the area.
Road Freight Association (RFA) CEO Gavin Kelly said any truck was being targeted and it didn’t matter what goods it had been carrying.
“Attacks are not aimed at a specific cargo (to our knowledge). Any truck is fair game.
“The routes heading out and through KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and Gauteng are under attack. There have been cases in those provinces and in Mpumalanga.”
Kelly said at least 30 trucks were attacked across SA last week.
On Monday he penned an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling for urgent intervention to prevent a repeat of last year’s violence in which 21 drivers and crew, including South Africans, were killed.
He said come December 1, when stakeholders in the industry would discuss a solution, they would engage government to implement the solutions agreed upon two years ago.
“Secondly, get the police to act decisively against those perpetrating violent acts. We now have a murder. There doesn’t seem to be any political will to resolve this. The solutions were tabled two years ago and reaffirmed during ministerial task team meetings. There are other groupings now involved in this. Will this grow into other sectors and industries where larger numbers of foreigners are employed?"
Two weeks ago police minister Bheki Cele revealed truck hijackings in SA had increased by 31.7% from July to September.