After threats that parts of the province may expect unrest on Monday, the Road Freight Association said the freight industry would pull out their trucks and employees in KZN should further violence arise.
DURBAN – The Road Freight Association (RFA) said the freight industry would pull out their trucks and employees in KwaZulu-Natal should further violence arise.
This comes after threats that parts of the province may expect unrest on Monday.
Messages and voice notes circulated at the weekend. In one voice note a man is heard telling people to burn more infrastructure, including courts, to ensure that people bring the province to a standstill.
The RFA said they had been made aware of the threats and were concerned.
The association’s chief executive, Gavin Kelly, said: “We don’t know what will happen tonight (Sundaynight) but we are hopeful that there won’t be any reports. The industry has experienced a lot of damage and huge financial losses, and we are hoping such can now be avoided,” he said.
More than 35 trucks were torched in KZN, 25 of them on the N3 in Mooi River. This led to the freight industry stopping all movement of trucks. However, the N3 has since been reopened.
Kelly said the N3 was a strategic corridor and an estimated R3 billion worth of goods was transported on the highway daily. Protection of employees, trucks, their loads and distribution centres remained paramount for the association, he said.
The RFA was concerned about the reports, Kelly said, and had called on law-enforcement agencies to secure the identified hot spots.
He said they had urged truck operators to only run their trucks during the day on the N3 in KZN.
KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala said that the provincial government was aware of the threats and had put security measures in place.
Zikalala, who was speaking on eNCA, said this was to ensure that they averted any further disruptions or protests that may lead to violence.
“We have the army that has been deployed throughout the province. The police are also on the ground to ensure that they work in townships and rural areas. All in all, we can confirm that we are ready,” he said.
Zikalala said more equipment would be provided to the police to help disperse crowds.
Meanwhile, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Nigel Ward encouraged all businesses and employees to remain vigilant and ensure that security was a priority.
Ward said they were working closely with law enforcement to monitor any developments.
“It is through working together that we will be able to start rebuilding our economy, building our communities, restoring jobs lost and feeding our families. The devastating impact of the past couple of days of violent looting has had a huge negative impact on the economy,” he said.
According to information from the city, the damage to property and equipment amounted to R15 billion and more than 50,000 informal traders had been affected. More than 40,000 businesses had been affected and many might not recover.
Furthermore, more than 150,000 jobs are at risk, and close to 1.5 million people are not able to earn an income due to the unrest.
The total impact on the GDP in eThekwini in the past five days was estimated at more than R20 billion.
“The above estimated statistics thus far are a true reflection of the damage that has been caused in just over five days. Our economy cannot afford another day of looting and any more violent behaviour as it will be devastating for the economy.”