Truckers to stay of roads on Monday in South Africa
The Road Freight Association (RFA) has urged transporters to minimize operations on the roads and in staging yards during the Economic Freedom Fighters' (EFF) planned national shutdown on Monday, March 20, 2023. The shutdown is scheduled to protest against load shedding and to call for the resignation of President Cyril Ramaphosa. In response, security forces have assigned the EFF's planned national shutdown a high-risk status, with a large police force deployed and the military and the NPA on standby, to prevent a repeat of the July 2021 unrest.
The RFA told its members in a circular issued on Wednesday that it had held discussions with SAPS National Commissioner General Sehlahle Masemola, who had proposed contingency plans for the logistics sector. The SAPS noted that they would not be able to be everywhere all the time and looked to the assistance from the road freight and private security industries in providing them with timely intelligence, support, and assistance as may be required.
As a result, the RFA has outlined contingency plans for general freight, advising its members to minimize operations as much as possible for the day, schedule deliveries before and after March 20, and keep as few trucks as possible active on roads or parked in areas easily accessible to groups that wish to cause damage or loot. The RFA also suggests that where vehicles/facilities/infrastructure have camera capabilities, any relevant footage of incidents should be given to the SAPS for investigation and prosecution. Any verified intelligence/information of events as they occur should be forwarded/shared with the SAPS as expediently as possible, and as much proactive and forward warning intelligence be verified and shared as expediently as possible.
Furthermore, fuel deliveries will be secured as best possible, and a centralized control center will be created at SAPS to allocate escorts or relevant support, although, where possible, fuel deliveries should be delayed until after March 20. Dangerous goods should also be kept off the roads where possible. Towing companies are requested to spread their capacity along the key routes to allow for fast clearing of blockages/incidents. Transport companies are requested to allow the closest/fastest responding recovery company to remove vehicles to safety.
In conclusion, the RFA's contingency plans aim to support security forces to minimize the impact of the planned national shutdown on transport operations. It is important for all stakeholders to work together and share timely and relevant intelligence to prevent any incidents from escalating into violence and further unrest.