Deputy President David Mabuza says eight people have so far been convicted, while several others await trial following recent violent protests, which left a number of trucks burnt in KwaZulu-Natal.
Mabuza said this when he fielded oral questions in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Wednesday.
“The President mandated the Minister of Employment and Labour to attend to the issue of road freight disruption and burning of trucks in KwaZulu-Natal.
“In attending to the matter, the Minister was accompanied by the Ministers of Police, Home Affairs, Transport and Members of the Provincial Executive Council.
“To this end, eight persons have been convicted and sentenced in various magistrate courts. In addition, more than ten suspects have appeared in the Estcourt Magistrate Court, and have been remanded in custody until their next court appearance,” said the Deputy President.
This comes after truck drivers went on a strike and blockaded main roads in KwaZulu-Natal in July, when protesting against the employment of foreign drivers in the freight sector.
Mabuza said the country has experienced a disruption of projects by concerned groups and disgruntled communities, resulting in undue project delays and negative impacts on service delivery in parts of the country.
He said the disruptions are attributable to the perceived or real lack of localisation, and access to business participation opportunities.
“In simple terms, local projects are seen as not benefitting local people in terms of enterprise development and employment opportunities.”
Mabuza said in KwaZulu-Natal, government has received reports of instances where community members and other groupings have resorted to acts of violence to stop business operations and ongoing infrastructure projects as part of their protests to gain access to business opportunities.
“As government, we strongly condemn the destruction of property and infrastructure, no matter how legitimate the grievances may be.
“We reiterate that the incitement of violence and lawlessness is an antithesis of what we stand for as a constitutional State.
“While law enforcement efforts are key to ensuring stability, and safeguarding human lives and the destruction of property, we should be under no illusion that this is solely a law enforcement problem.
“Government has to deal with underlying socio-economic problems that are at the root cause of such disruptions.”