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Truck drivers angry at government's silence on employment of foreign nationals

13 July 2020 12:45 PM

Fleetwatch editor Patrick O'Leary says the truck driver's union ATDF may have lost control of its members.

Tensions continue in the trucking industry, as drivers protest the employment of foreign nationals. This has led to attacks on drivers and damage to trucks, causing concern around sending trucks out on the road.

On 7 July 2020, truck drivers threatened a national shutdown, calling for 100% employment of local drivers. Since then, there has been no word from government, causing anger amongst truck drivers.

According to Patrick O'Leary is the Editor of Fleetwatch magazine, this situation has been going on since 2018. He adds that the All Truck Drivers’ Foundation (ATDF) claimed that they were unaware of the strike on 7 July. O'Leary says this is dangerous.

When I spoke to the leaders of the ATDF, they said to me they know nothing about that strike on July 7th. They had not called for it or anything. Now that is very dangerous because it means that the members are taking things into their own hands.

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

O'Leary says that the ATDF admit that they have lost control of their members. They added that members of the government have not gotten back to the ATDF in two years, regarding their demands of hiring local drivers only.

The members are angry because they have not head any feedback from the leaders since 2018.

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

The high unemployment rate may also be a contributing factor to the truck drivers anger, according to O'Leary. He adds that is it the legal members for the ATDF who are suffering the most in this situation. They are the ones who are getting hit with violence and in some cases are getting injured. O'Leary says that's it is time for the government to intervene.

The government needs to move. They say that the only way to get the government's notice is by going violent, burning tyres, protesting. Which is such a sorry and a sad situation.

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

I'm calling on the government. Minister of transport, minister of home affairs, minister of labour to get this thing sorted out.

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

Truck owners are also worried about the state of the industry. According to O'Leary, many truck operators would like to stop all their operations, but with continue issues in the rail and port industries, trucks are an essential service during the lockdown.

There are so many operators who would love to just stop their operations, for two days. That is all it would take to cripple this country

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

They have a responsibility to South Africa. That is the only wheels that South Africa have at the moment, its road. 90% of the goods go by road.

Patrick O'Leary, Editor of Fleetwatch magazine

Listen to the interview below:


13 July 2020 12:45 PM

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