The incident took place just before midnight on Sunday. Of the five trucks, four were going uphill from Mbombela towards Machardodorp, while the fifth was travelling in the opposite direction, towards Mbombela.
This incident came on the heels of another where six trucks were torched on the Van Reenen’s Pass in KwaZulu-Natal, also during the weekend, by a gang of armed men who forced the truck drivers to stop their trucks.
The gang set all six trucks alight causing the road to be closed to traffic. No injuries were reported. Motorists were urged to delay their trips if possible.
Northbound traffic, heading to Johannesburg, was stopped at Tugela Plaza, while southbound traffic, heading to Durban, was stacked at the top of Van Reenen’s Pass.
With the Mpumalanga incident, the trucks were burnt and that caused massive destruction and loss for different trucking companies.
According to information received, it is alleged that two vehicles, a light delivery vehicle and a sedan with five occupants stopped the trucks, instructed the drivers to take their personal belongings before setting the trucks on fire.
The exact loss suffered is yet to be determined. The motive behind the mayhem is also unclear at this stage but appears to be due to truck driver disputes, especially over the employment of foreign drivers.
Police have since launched an investigation into this incident of malicious damage to properties.
The Provincial Commissioner of SAPS in Mpumalanga Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has strongly condemned the outrageous behaviour of lawlessness displayed in this incident.
“We are a country with laws and we cannot allow our country to be subjected to this kind of criminal behaviour. An example should be made out of the people behind this act,” said Lieutenant General Manamela.
“Besides the great financial loss caused in terms of the damages, other road users were inconvenienced as the road was closed down for hours as police and other role players were busy with investigation and assessment. The perpetrators thereof should be hunted down and be brought to book,” Lieutenant General Manamela said.