HARRISMITH, South Africa– Two people were killed on Tuesday in an accident at Nuwejaar River over the N5 bridge when two suspects caused mayhem by using a truck to block traffic.
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the two perpetrators purportedly forced a truck carrying coal to stray from its course and then left it in the middle of the road to block the traffic flow.
“Apparently, another truck that was carrying maize collided with the truck already blocking the road and a bus from the Maluti Bus Services including a taxi that was making a U-turn to avoid the accident.” a statement from the police read in part.
it added that in the process, the truck carrying maize veered off the road and landed on the shoulder of the road where the driver sustained serious injuries.
Makhele said the passenger, a woman from the bus, sustained minor injuries while two people in the taxi died on impact.
“A case of culpable homicide is being investigated. The names of those who died can only be made known after the next of kin has been informed.”
Protest by truck drivers has seen N5 bridge and N3 highway blocked. Around 30 truck drivers had parked their trucks on the N3, “closing the road”.
The police spokesperson noted that truckers “are demanding to see (Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula). Their main grievance is foreign truck drivers being allowed to drive trucks in the country. The drivers are peaceful and just standing around. No acts of violence have been reported.”
Motorists have been advised to delay travel to the area, (Between Tugela Plaza and Harrismith), which has been blocked due to the protest whose leader is yet to be known.
All Truck Drivers Foundation (ADTF) secretary-general Sifiso Nyathi, said the organization was not behind the industrial action, which the truck drivers themselves allegedly organised, but appended that the group did support the action.
He retorted that the nationwide shutdown by local truck drivers is aimed at forcing freight companies to stop employing foreign nationals.
“South African drivers are being exploited. The (freight company) owners want to hire foreigners for less,” he said. “It’s a shame. Trucking is a scarce skill. The drivers are fed up. They don’t even want to listen to us as leaders.”