Two trucks have been petrol bombed in Nelson Mandela Bay today as calls for striking truck drivers to refrain from violence escalate.
Police spokesman, Warrant Officer Dumile Gwavu, said two trucks had been petrol bombed this morning, although he could not confirm whether the incidents were linked to the ongoing truck drivers strike orchestrated by Satawu and other unions.
A truck was petrol bombed on the Addo road opposite Wells Estate and close to the Truckers Inn, where striking truck workers reportedly stoned vehicles last week.
Gwavu said a small group of individuals had appeared from amongst the houses at Well Estate and began stoning the truck. They then threw a petrol bomb at the vehicle and set it alight before fleeing. The driver of the truck escaped unharmed.
In a second incident, at the corner of Uitenhage and Johnson Roads, two men apparently approached a truck, each carrying a Hansa beer bottle filled with petrol.
“The men threw the truck with the bottles and set it alight,” Gwavu said.
Gwavu said no arrests had been made in either incident and as such they could not confirm whether those responsible were linked to the ongoing truck driver strikes.
Meanwhile the South African Transport Allied Workers’ Union, (Satawu) and the three other unions (Ptawu, Mtwu and Tawusa) who were behind the ongoing strike, said they abhored the current violence associated with the strike.
“SATAWU and all the other unions involved in the current wage dispute with the road freight employers association would like to call for abhorrence and condemnation with the contempt it deserves the violence that have become apparent since our industrial action started,” they said in a statement this morning.
“We reiterate our call that those who seek to destroy our progressive image and all hell bent on criminal and thuggish behaviour continue to opportunistically hijack our just cause to further their malicious acts and practices. We have thus far realized that none at all of our members are party to all reported cases of crime that have seen the attack of fellow workers and torching as well as damaging of private property,” they said.
Satawu also called on their members and other workers on strike to maintain discipline and resist provocation, intimidation and attack.
“We will cooperate with the law enforcement agencies to ensure that we root out all forms of attacks, intimidation and criminal activities that seek to taint the noble industrial action we are currently leading,” said Satawu’s acting national media officer, Vincent Masoga.
The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber also condemnedthe attacks, saying that while they acknowledged the rights of workers to strike, the organisation could not support the ongoing public violence, intimidation, and the willful damage to property.
“Such action from strikers is in no way conducive to negotiation, and their actions have a knock-on effect felt throughout the economy. The strike poses a threat to production and delivery, and violent public action is a threat to the safety of workers and the public,” said the Chamber’s CEO, Kevin Hustler.
Hustler said the longer the strike action continued, the greater and more detrimental the effects to the business community and the economy would be.
“The Business Chamber urges all those involved in the strike to consider the reputational damage done to South Africa, particularly with regards to our image as a competitive international investment destination. We urge swift negotiations to conclude a win-win scenario for all parties concerned top bring an urgent end to this potentially crippling strike in the transport and logistics sector,” he said.