The African Transformation Movement (ATM) commends and supports the right of the South African Truck drivers to exercise their right to strike as enshrined in our Constitution. We applaud the Truck Drivers for embarking on a peaceful strike where loss of life and limb has not been reported. As much as ATM is concerned about the impact of the strike to the economy, but ATM cannot condone marginalisation of South Africans in their own country for jobs they are qualified for and can perform.
The issue of South African Truck Drivers strike should be analysed properly without emotions and cheap politicking. This issue is not about being anti truck drivers from other countries per se but it’s about the deliberate marginalisation of South African Truck Drivers so that slave wages can go uncontested by the non-South African. Business people of South Africa must not pretend to be innocent by-standers when in fact they are central in this problem. Similarly, our immigration laws together with our labour laws should be implemented and enforced to ensure that voluntary migration is allowed only for those who bring scarce and critical skills. So, Government is also complicit in this problem.
As ATM we hold the view that the action of the South African Truck Drivers is an expression of frustration, desperation and national solidarity due to poor leadership by both organised business and Governments in the entire continent. If this matter is not attended to with honesty and integrity, it has potential to be abused to cause further polarity among African countries and destroy the Unity of Africa as was envisioned by our forbearers including Nkrumah.
This Truck Drivers matter must not be seen in isolation, because the issues raised by the South African Truck Drivers are similar to those raised by other South Africans in the hospitality and tourism industry. Therefore, in order for the solution to be long lasting, lawful and credible it must be holistic.
All African Countries must prioritise their own citizens in their own countries so that there is no incentive for citizens to even consider voluntary migration into other countries. All African Countries must strive to be economically viable in their own right and jealously guard their sovereignty. All Countries in Africa must work together to achieve the African Dream of a united and decolonised Africa. A unity rooted in humanism, peace and collaboration.
Truck owners of various countries must prioritise the employment of citizens in their own countries so that in the end all citizens are well cared for in their land of their birth.
Surely as much as it would be indefensible for a South African Truck Driver to be driving Trucks of Kenya when there are more than enough Kenyans who could do the job, similarly the South African Truck Drivers must be priority for trucks whose owners are South Africans. In fact, the reality is that the desperate truck drivers from other countries are paid exploitative wages in South Africa and thus crowd out locals who are calling for fair a wage in line with sectorial determinations.
As ATM we therefore support the lawful strike by South African Truck Drivers and reiterate our call to Put South Africans First in South Africa.
Issued by the African Transformation Movement