The African Transformation Movement (ATM) commends and supports the Truck Drivers of South Africa for their shutdown that calls for legislation to be put in place to protect their jobs from being dominated by non-South Africans.
Understanding the fundamentals of the movement that calls for government to “Put South Africans First” in all economic participation avenues, the logistics sector is one of the many industries that are heavily affected by the active existence of heavy reliance on foreign labour for truck driving purposes.
These truck drivers kept the economy flowing and active, even during the lockdown, whilst their jobs were under siege and attack by the notion of cheap labour that unfortunately lowers the worth of each driver.
The unfortunate dominance of foreign nationals in the trucking industry gives rise to:
- The existence of cheap labour due to foreign nationals being exploited by logistics companies into settling for cheaper rates, thus phasing the South African truckers out of the labour force;
- Non-compliance to various legislative requirements such as the Employment Equity Act, in which the private sector has only satisfied 23% of compliance to since 1998;
- The significant lowering of income per household due to retrenchments of the South African labour force;
- The subjecting of foreign nationals to poor working conditions that do not protect their basic human rights.
In ensuring that we “Put South Africans First”, we need to put in place regulations that give exclusive employment in all sectors, especially the trucking industry to South Africa citizens only, and ensure that the revenue collection in this sector serves the citizens first.
In the same light, there are many SME trucking/logistics companies that are deliberately shut out of participating in the economy, yet industry giants such as Imperial are given 80% of the business by both the private and the public sector.
Until we can understand that the economic aftereffects of the lockdown, and unemployment at large, can only be reversed through placing locals into economic activity, we are far from recovering from the 30.1% unemployment rate that just increased in the first quarter of 2020.
ATM is therefore not only calling for the protection of truck drivers’ jobs, but also for them to be emancipated from being excluded in economic activity that may as well see them industrialising their operations to becoming job makers as compared to being job seekers.
ATM supports the truck drivers of South Africa and commends their efforts in fighting for what is rightfully theirs.