The president of the association, Mary Phadi, said they were demanding the regulation of the industry with operating licences and monitoring by the department.
PRETORIA – The Department of Transport has 21 days to respond to grievances brought forward by the Truckers Association of South Africa and aspiring operators, or face a nationwide shutdown.
Speaking outside the department headquarters in the Pretoria CBD, the president of the association, Mary Phadi, said they were demanding, among others, the regulation of the industry with operating licences and monitoring by the department.
They also want the revision of cross-border permits and transport policies on broad-based black economic empowerment to allow for a more level playing ground which she said was non-existent.
Phadi said they were committed to the transformation of the transport industry to ensure equal opportunities for all.
“In the current context of a democratic society, that remains marred with racial and gender inequality, we have seen an emergence of economic inequality where the capitalists and their allies thrive.
“With this emergence comes a new elitism, factionalism presided over in terms of allegiance and nepotism. We believe that SA and its wealth belong to all and not a select few.”
She said that before the democratic dispensation, the trucking industry was an industry purely reserved for the white population, and as such there was never a need to regulate it.
“It is saddening to note that all other transport industries wherein black people participated were and still remain regulated by the government. These regulated industries have ensured that no single person can have monopoly or dominance in the industry.”
She said the notion was crystalised in legislation such as the BBBEE Act and the National Preferential Procurement policy framework, among others.
“But these beautifully crafted legislations are nothing but sentiments of an ideal, an ideal of equality.
“In May we wrote a letter requesting a meeting with the minister (Fikile Mbalula), regarding the issues of inequalities that have been experienced by truckers in the industry, especially among black groups.
“The acknowledgement was received but no appointment was set to meet.
“A follow-up in June and September also yielded no results.
“It is concerning that the so-called government for the people elects to ignore its constituencies when called upon.
“When we call (for) equal distribution of resources from the government and its parastatals, we are vilified and labelled as desperate hooligans ransoming entities.
“We have tried to act civilly, but the silent treatment we are receiving leaves a lot to be desired.”
She warned that in the absence of engagements with the minister: “We will be left with no option, but to do what seems to be the only language that any government seems to understand.
“We are prepared to stop our business activities and dedicate our trucks to a nationwide stoppage of all eco-activities in all major cities around the country in a bid to draw the department’s attention to our issues.”
Department spokesperson Ayanda-Allie Paine welcomed the grievances put forward by the association. “Some of the issues raised are labour-related matters.”
She said there would be engagements and the department would respond to the association and address its concerns within the stipulated time.