A significant number of foreign nationals working in the logistics industry in South Africa say they are being targeted despite meeting the requirements for their jobs. This as a recent truck strike persists.
Over 1 000 truck drivers abandoned their trucks across the country on Tuesday to protest against the employment of foreign drivers.
Various trucking associations say logistics firms are required to ensure that foreign employees have the relevant permits.
A truck driver from Zimbabwe has expressed concerns.
“Currently, I am a truck driver and since this issue started last year, most of the companies have stopped taking foreign drivers. I am very worried and it is quite tense because the situation is not good. I disagree with them saying some companies are employing only foreign national drivers because in this driving industry you can’t just get into a company. You get tested. If you fail, you fail, but if I got a job then I got it. It’s not about where you come from but how you got your job.”
However, the Road Freight Association (RFA) has dismissed claims that the majority of truck drivers employed in South Africa are foreigners.
RFA Chief Executive Gavin Kelly says logistics firms are required to ensure that foreign employees have the relevant permits.
Kelly says, “90 percent of employees are not foreigners. The percentage is somewhere around 10 percent of drivers are foreign nationals. The legally employed foreigners are protected and governed by the labour laws of the country. So if I have a foreigner from wherever, who has a work permit, has the correct driving license and requirements, then I have to pay that driver the minimum requirements of the bargaining council agreement.”
The Truckers Association of South Africa (TASA) says truck drivers are not allowed to be on strike.
An interdict has been granted restraining the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) from organising, encouraging or inciting any protest action.
TASA President Mary Phadi says logistics companies do ensure that foreign employees have work permits.
Phadi says, “We are aware yesterday they were given an interdict to not strike and they continued with the strike. Today we are hoping that the situation is normal because our understanding is that they were going to strike for one day. Whatever is happening on the streets is not allowed to continue in that manner…”
“If you are driving a truck as a foreigner, you need to have a work permit. The claim that we allow the drivers to drive a truck illegally is difficult to do because there is no insurance that will be able to pay you when your truck is in an accident,” Phadi.