‘Torching of trucks an act of economic sabotage’ – Transport Minister

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Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga on Tuesday said she was gravely concerned about the torching of trucks on South African roads, describing the incidents as an “act of economic sabotage”.

This comes after trucks ferrying goods were set alight recently in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

Meanwhile, four more trucks have been torched on Wednesday morning on the N2 between Piet Retief and Ermelo in Mpumalanga.

According to reports, this brings 20 trucks in total that have been burned down.

“This is criminality that will not be tolerated. These criminals are committing an act of economic sabotage, which must attract the harshest penalties permissible in law,” said Chikunga.

“Our road network is the lifeblood of our economy and transports valuable cargo that keeps the wheels of our economy turning,” she stressed.

According to the Minister, road traffic law enforcement authorities, working under the coordination of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) continue to work closely with other law enforcement authorities to maintain maximum vigilance and to bring perpetrators to book.

“The ability of trucks to transport freight is an enabler of economic activity and trade with other markets, which is critical for our economy, as the road freight transports more than 80% of all country’s cargo,” she explained.

Government, Chikunga said, has also provided a platform of engagement for any party aggrieved by working conditions in the road freight industry and that progress is being made in addressing the issues on the table.

The Ministry said it continues to work as part of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to address the challenges facing the sector.

“Behaviour by any party that is outside of that agreed framework will neither be condoned nor tolerated. We call upon law enforcement authorities to unleash the full might of the law in dealing with those who think they can sabotage our economy with impunity.

“We equally appeal to other road users and communities to work closely with law enforcement authorities and report suspicious conduct on our roads.  We will not allow our roads to be used as an arena to commit crime,” she stressed.