Trucks Attacks: Landlocked African nations shifting reliance from South Africa’s ports amidst violence

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JOHANNESBURG – The recurring violence, robberies, and arson attacks targeting haulage trucks in South Africa are having a detrimental impact on the country’s economy, as an increasing number of landlocked African nations are redirecting their reliance on ports in other countries.

Charles Mhlongo, the president of the Black Bulk Transporters Association, made these comments during an interview with broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, highlighting the consequences of the arson attacks on heavy trucks across various parts of South Africa.

Mhlongo noted that previously, landlocked African countries heavily relied on South Africa’s harbours for their transportation needs.

However, due to the ongoing incidents of violence, the business is shifting towards countries such as Mozambique and Namibia.

He emphasized that this issue represents significant economic sabotage driven by criminality, and it requires a collective awareness among Africans. Mhlongo also highlighted that the blame cannot be solely placed on foreign truck drivers.

South Africa, as a developing country, has experienced a decline in transit business, with approximately 80 percent of cargo movement being redirected away from its terminals in Durban and Richards Bay.

This shift has opened up opportunities for countries like Namibia, Mozambique, and Tanzania, indicating the erosion of South Africa’s economic gains.

Mhlongo further explained that South Africa used to handle around 80 percent of goods from landlocked countries, but unfortunately, 80 percent of that business has been lost.

Instead, the cargo is now being routed through Namibia, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Recent reports reveal that at least 21 haulage trucks have been destroyed in arson attacks in the provinces of KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concern over these incidents and warned that the police and other law enforcement agencies will apprehend those responsible for the truck burnings.

He emphasized that the government will not allow a group of people to sabotage the economy.

Ramaphosa has directed the South African Police Service (SAPS), intelligence agencies, and other security structures to take action against those involved in the attacks.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has stated that they have identified 12 individuals believed to be behind the recent wave of truck attacks. To address the problem, the government has deployed the army in strategic areas.

Source: IOL