Transport Minister, Dr Blade Nzimande, has condemned the blockade of the Cliffdale part of the N3 highway between Pietermaritzburg and Durban by some truck drivers this past weekend.
The truck drivers blocked part of the N3 on Sunday.
"It is disingenuous for some truck drivers to block the road or engage in any protest whilst there are current engagements between government and the foundations," Nzimande said.
Since the resolution of the meeting the Minister held on 11 January 2019, the Department of Transport has held follow-up meetings with the leadership of the All Truck Drivers Foundation and the National Truck Drivers Foundation to discuss challenges facing South African truck drivers.
Subsequent to these meetings, an interdepartmental team comprising the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Labour and the Bargaining Council held its meetings to further process the issues as raised by the trucking foundations.
"The Department of Transport took the initiative to get the relevant stakeholders to resolve the matter as a labour dispute because this had unfairly impacted on the flow of transport on our highways," the Minister said.
The Department of Transport said the dispute between truck drivers and their employers is not a matter for the department, but is a collective bargaining matter that must be negotiated and resolved at the relevant Collective Bargaining Council.
The Department of Labour was tasked to conduct unannounced inspections to unscrupulous employers disregarding employment laws, and the law enforcement officers were tasked to identify routes with high volumes of cross border truck movement and conduct multi-disciplinary road block operations.
"We have also consistently impressed on the associations representing workers in a number of meetings we have held for them to take up their grievances to the appropriate bargaining chamber and not block our highways.
"Similarly, we have met and urged employers to work towards resolving the grievances of truck drivers speedily, whose major complaint is the employment of foreign nationals in the trucking industry," Nzimande said.
The Minister has called on law enforcement agencies to ensure that those who break the law and disrupt the flow of traffic are apprehended and for the trucks to be impounded.
He said by blocking the N3, these truck drivers not only block the traffic flow but also sabotage the economy of the country.
The Minister said while the department has done all to assist towards the resolution of this dispute, the matter must be dealt with not as a transport issue but as a labour dispute.
He urged all affected parties to work towards a speedy resolution of this matter and further urged Labour to take the lead as agreed.