Yesterday the Durban Chamber of Commerce expressed concern over the severe economic impact of the N3 blockade by trucks at Van Reenen’s Pass.
Trucks locked both sides of the national freeway, with traffic backing up for kilometres and there were also reports of looting of trucks. By early afternoon the trucks were being cleared, but diverted traffic on the R74 was backlogged.
While not confirmed, the reason for the blockade was truckers calling for an end to foreign truck drivers being hired.
Truck Blockade on the N3 between Van Reenen and Tugela Tollgate, please avoid area pic.twitter.com/l9W1LhKvsn— SA Trucker (@rsa_trucker) December 3, 2021
Durban Chamber CEO Palesa Phili said the KwaZulu-Natal economy was completely reliant on the N3 corridor as it served as a critical trade route.
“Such behaviour cannot become the norm of addressing social issues in South Africa. If these protest actions persist, it will impact the entire value chain, from trucking companies to the receiving businesses,” said Phili, calling for urgent intervention.
According to eThekwini Municipality’s “The Durban Edge” data portal, R13.7 million per day is lost in GVA (gross value added) when the logistics sector is interrupted.
Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly said the transport and logistics industry was being held captive by those “who prefer to work outside of the law”.
“The vital N3 route between the Port of Durban and the interior has been blocked ‒ again.
“Violence and looting has occurred according to some reports, while individuals have taken the law into their own hands to pull drivers from trucks to check their personal documents. Law abiding transporters are being subject to this,” said Kelly, adding that the police needed to take action and “not stand on the sideline and monitor”.
“The Road Freight Association has called on government again and again to do what is necessary. They must deal with those who see themselves above the law, arrest, detain and investigate the inciters, those who perpetrate these acts and those who take it upon themselves to act like police or authorities of the state,” he said.
“We are fast losing any respect as a safe, efficient and desirable route for the movement of goods out of, and into, Africa ‒ and even in South Africa,” he said.
Independent on Saturday