JEMIMA BEUKES - WINDHOEK
Transport minister John Mutorwa says Namibian authorities are worried about the escalating truckers' strike in neighbouring South Africa, in which at least one Namibian truck driver has been injured.
The Namibian trucker was struck on the chin by a brick while driving in South Africa. Namibian Sun could not reach him on his cellphone yesterday.
According another Namibian truck driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the situation is getting out of hand.
“I have just returned, but I am told by my friends that these protesters are now using the situation to rob our drivers. They are now even going to the parking bays and truck ports where truckers are parked to attack and rob them,” the trucker said.
Hiring foreign truckers
According to South African media, the strike is in protest over the hiring of foreign nationals in the local trucking industry. According to Media24, some South African truckers have complained that there are reportedly over 500 qualified truck drivers who are unemployed, while the South African industry employs over 90% foreign truck drivers.
“We are monitoring the situation, but we are worried. We will issue a statement today (Monday),” Mutorwa said yesterday. This follows a warning issued by the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS) last week urging Namibian truck drivers to be cautious and remain out of harm's way.
TKCS executive director Leslie Mpofu said the South African government had informed them that South African truck drivers intend to implement a “national shutdown” on freight and truck movement on 7 July.
“This matter is receiving attention from the government, and the relevant authorities in South Africa are doing all they can to ensure that the action taken by truck drivers is managed in the best manner possible,” Mpofu said in the statement. He also advised Namibian truck drivers to report all incidents to the nearest police station. The situation has in the meantime escalated, with several foreign truckers being attacked and having their trucks torched by aggrieved South African truckers.
SOURCE: Namibian Sun