NAMIBIAN transporters say they are monitoring a strike by South African lorry drivers before embarking on any trip to the neighbouring country.
According to Simon Nambahu, owner of Special Inn Transport, his company's lorry drivers started to evacuate from South Africa after receiving tip-offs about the strike a few weeks earlier.
“When the strike happened all my drivers were out of South Africa. We are currently not going there but we are monitoring the situation. If the situation normalises, by Monday our trucks will be able to travel again to South Africa. For now we are staying put,” he said.
FP du Toit Transport's chief executive officer, Stephan Terblanche, says Namibian lorry drivers are not targets of what is happening in South Africa but they remain on high alert.
“The issue is not foreign trucks driving to South Africa but the recruitment of foreign drivers by South African transporters. The locals are upset over the high unemployment rate in their country and jobs are given to foreign drivers,” said Terblanche.
He added that to ensure that FP du Toit Transport's drivers are safe, all their lorries are fitted with panic buttons to alert police stations in South Africa.
“Before entry into any town, we also call the police stations to see if there is any danger ahead. Additionally our drivers are advised not to drive beyond 22h00 or before 06h00,” he said.
Hannes Jannetjies of Imperial Managed Logistics Namibia added that the greatest impact is to the drivers and the national economy.
“The impact is felt because now it takes longer to get to the delivery and loading points. It is a very negative situation for us and the economy. It also affects the drivers' salary because apart from their basic salaries they also earn a substantive amount from kilometres covered. The more kilometres one covers the better the monthly income,” said Jannetjies.
The general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, Jack Mazibuko, is quoted in media reports as saying the organisers of the strike are the same ones who mobilised a strike last year and they could be frustrated because of the slow pace of investigations into the hiring of foreign nationals.
SOURCE: The Namibian