Staff Reporter – The Zimbabwe Daily
Durban, South Africa – More than 1 000 truckdrivers mainly in Johannesburg and Durban have embarked on a strike demanding to be put first.
The South African truckdrivers who are currently embattled in the strike are demanding truck companies to stop hiring non South Africans.
Although the Pretoria High court ordered an interdict on the strike on Monday, the truckdrivers are seemingly not concerned.
“The strike is illegal, they are saying foreigners don’t have proper documentation, as far as I am concerned no one is allowed to drive without proper documentation, companies know that because they know if they do that they won’t be compensated in the event that there is an accident,” said Mary Phadi, president of the Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA).
Gavin Kelly spokesperson of the Road Freight Association also said the strike was highly uncalled for.
“According to the department of labour, 10 percent of employees are foreigners not 90 percent. These stats are with the department of labour and a survey on that was completed last year. If you find truck employers who are breaching labour laws then they should face the full might of the law.
Kelly also acknowledged that South Africans should be prioritised first when it comes to employment but disagreed with the issue of having a quota system.
“When it comes to employment South Africans should be given first preference but I don’t think a quota system is the right way to go,” said Kelly.
Sam Morotoba, Deputy Director General of Public Employment Services in the Department of Labour said the issue of not hiring non South Africans was not feasible.
“We can’t just say no more hiring foreigners, we have to understand that we have people on asylum, refugees and those with special permits who are qualified to be employed, besides there are SADC agreements that we have in place,” said Marotoba.
Chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum, Dr. Vusumuzi Sibanda said there was nothing wrong with truck companies employing non South Africans.
“Companies employ on merit and they do tests and the foreign drivers are employed because they do well on these superlinks and triaxle trucks as well as defensive driving. This strike is malicious and fuelled by cheap politicking,” said Dr. Sibanda.
Since most of the non South African truckdrivers are Zimbabwean, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) also weighed in on the issue.
“SA is part of SADC and should not segregate SADC nationals. There is nothing new with transborder truckers being nationals of various countries because of the nature of their work.
Such behavior being demonstrated by South African truck drivers brews xenophobia,” said Japhet Moyo, secretary general of ZCTU.