Durban – Due to increased patrols and police visibility along the busy N3 trade route between Durban and Joburg, attacks on truck drivers have shifted to the N2.
A truck driver was fatally shot and his truck was set alight on the N2 between Murchison and Paddock, on the KZN south coast on Monday.
Zimbabwean Charles Ntini was shot but managed to crawl out of the truck before it was set alight.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the police found him lying on the road, near the driver’s door.
“He had sustained bullet wounds in the left arm and chest and had burn injuries to his body. The 37-year-old driver was declared dead at the scene. The motive is unknown at this stage and the case has been transferred to the Provincial Task Team for further investigation,” Mbele said.
A source who asked not to be named said criminal elements were at play within the trucking and freight industry.
“This has gone beyond the excuse of the employment of foreigners. Now you find that trucks are being burnt even if they know the driver is South African.
“They are preying on anyone and everyone. Most times they just want to loot the truck,” he said.
The owner of a private security company that patrols the N3 said they had noted fewer attacks.
“Since we have been deployed to monitor, we have been informed of more attacks taking place on the N2.
“We are hoping that the government will look into deploying police along that route,” he said.
He added that he was particularly worried about the N2 and N3 routes following plans to upgrade the national road network.
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union spokesperson Zanele Sabela said there was a need to reconvene a meeting with the inter-ministerial committee that had been set up to look into truck attacks on the N3.
The MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal, Mxolisi Kaunda, expressed concern about the ongoing attacks.
“The focus has been on the N3 because that is where most of the incidents were taking place, however, incidents on the N2 are a cause for concern and are being given the necessary attention,” he said.
“We have also asked the police to get to the root causes of these incidents.
“All forms of violence must be condemned and law enforcement agencies must act quickly.”
*This article was first published in The Mercury.