The following open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa was written by Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly on June 16, 2022.
The entire logistics supply chain is under attack. Still. All major areas are targeted.
Road freight companies (carriers) find themselves targeted, attacked and forcibly prevented from carrying out their activities on the pretext that foreign nationals are “taking jobs away from citizens”.
This results in damaged and utterly destroyed lives, businesses, employment opportunities, economic activities, property, vehicles, facilities, roads and foreign investments to move goods through South Africa. towards Africa.
The action discriminates against companies that comply with all legal requirements, or even come from foreign countries – while our calls for action against companies that continue to break laws, employ foreigners without proper clearances and refuse to register or submit to inspections by the Department of Employment and Labor [are unheeded and they] continue to operate and create the position that we as a country find ourselves in.
The N3 has been blocked for more than 24 hours. There are more than 350 trucks stuck in both directions of the N3 (this number keeps growing hour by hour). Our drivers (and other truck personnel) are exposed to severe cold, possible violent looting or other serious assaults and cannot afford to survive for days stranded in a truck in the middle of nowhere. go.
The N3 road connects one of the busiest ports in Africa to many countries that depend on a functional, safe and efficient corridor. A lot of goods travel and cross this road.
Other vital roads – from Mpumalanga across the country to the North Cape – the N17, N11, N2, R59, R74 – the list goes on – have experienced similar events and delays. This cannot go on.
The economic impact – initially felt and transported/absorbed by all haulers stuck on the various routes – is not only enormous (we have already lost around R25 million in truck operating costs), but will cripple many of our small operators (88% of our members are SMEs), will impact all other industry sectors (from manufacturing to retail), result in penalties for late delivery, damaged goods, breach of contract and even loss of business. activity and therefore unemployment.
Ships will sail to other ports – they won’t wait for us to “pull ourselves together”.
We will lose trade and business to and through South Africa. Our ports will become ghost towns – and surrounding businesses related to these trade and support activities will close. More unemployment [will ensue].
When you add up all the damages and negative costs to the economy, we are already well around R300 million.
Mr President, what is it really about? Besides the economic sabotage and total destruction of South Africa, there is a clear intention to prove that the control of the country (and its economy) now rests with gangs?
ATDF-SA management [All Truck Drivers Foundation South Africa], in particular the president of the organization, has openly stated on social media that they do not care about the effects of their actions and will continue until there is a change. Why did the various departments responsible for solving this problem (almost five years ago now) NOT address the main reasons and fix them?
You and your ministers promised to defend the country. To protect its people and ensure a better life for all. You broke that trust.
Act now – or we won’t have a country.
No place to educate and grow our children.
Mr President – instruct the Ministers of Police, Transport and Defense and Veterans Affairs to exercise their functions – to restore order and listen to the proposals made by representative and compliant carriers within the sector. Non-compliant carriers and the groups that “represent” them must be dealt with.
It is now.
End the sabotage of the country and its economy by the ATDF-SA and their allies. Clear routes. Arrest these complicit drivers [in] this activity.
Deal with the organizers of this sabotage, criminal activity and organized crime.
Open the logistics corridors.
Guarantee the rule of law and the right to free movement and operation of economic activity.
If you don’t do it now, South Africa will close. It will stop. Trade and business will go elsewhere.
We must protect the constitutional right of every citizen to safety, security, and the ability to live and work unhindered (provided they respect and abide by the same Constitution and the various legislative requirements of the country).
On behalf of all our fellow citizens, the Road Freight Association asks you to instruct your firm to act now. Act decisively.
Mr. Speaker, we look to your leadership.