Truck attacks could lead to empty shelves, warns RFA

Truck attacks could lead to empty shelves, warns RFA

The Road Freight Association (RFA) has warned that the continuous attack on trucks in Gauteng and other provinces could lead to a shortage of goods in shops over the festive season.

Alrode Trucks burned

A string of attacks on trucks have seen at least 30 vehicles targeted over the past few weeks.   

In the latest incident on Wednesday morning, two trucks were torched on the N12 near Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni.

It’s believed that the spate of attacks could be linked to anger over the employment of foreign drivers by local trucking companies.

Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly says companies will have to think twice before sending drivers out on the roads over the festive season. 

“Generally, in the last period in a number of years there has been an increase in merchandise moving along the roads (over December). Right now, you will see some wholesalers and retailers trying to stock their shelves in preparation for the festive season in the hope of a financial turnaround, especially after Covid-19. 

“Now, when there are attacks on the logistic supply chain, a number of things are going to happen. First of all you are going to have a number of companies which are not going to operate on certain routes at certain times. That could bring a shortage of availability of road transport. You will have other companies that will decide that they are not going to expose their employees to any sort of risk and having their employees burnt.”

This, Kelly warns, could lead to some companies suspending their services completely.

“You could find operators who will stop transporting. You could find there are certain cargo owners or manufacturers who are going to decide not to produce goods and not getting them sent around the country, because they will be looted.”  

At the same time Kelly has refuted allegations that the majority of drivers in South Africa are foreigners.

“At this stage trucks are being attacked irrespective of who the company is and who the drivers are in those trucks. It is just a wide-open war on trucking right now. 

“The reason given for this is the employment of foreign drivers within South African companies operating within South Africa. This is unfounded. There have been reports going around that the number of foreign drivers is large.

“In terms of the national bargaining council for the road freight industry, there are only 600 odd foreign drivers."

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