SA sets up Border Management Authority to deal with migration as truck drivers continue complaining about the hiring of foreign nationals
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DURBAN - Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has revealed that the Border Management Authority (BMA) was being set up to deal with migration and related policies amid complaints from truck drivers who blame foreign truck drivers for taking their jobs.
This emanated from recent engagements between the government and aggrieved truckers and drivers who ostensibly complained about foreign nationals who were taking up their work opportunities and a lack of strict regulation in this industry within the country.
Motsoaledi assured the road freight industry that matters were being addressed accordingly.
“In the next few weeks, there will be far-reaching leadership and policy interventions by BMA as well as a number of initiatives that we have been involved in to resolve issues around this matter,” Motsoaledi said.
He introduced newly appointed BMA commissioner Dr Michael Masiapato and deputy commissioner for operations David Chilembe to the stakeholders and implored them to sit together to develop plans to deal with the challenges at the border.
Both commissioner Masiapato and deputy commissioner Chilembe started their jobs last Tuesday.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi Minister acknowledged the concerns of trucking and other industries’ problems with regard to employment of foreign nationals.
Nxesi noted the various initiatives and meetings held to try and resolve ongoing challenges with regard to: registration of forums into formal unions, collective bargaining-related matters, and the attitude and conduct of some employers in the sector who are accused of preferring to employ foreign nationals because they can exploit them.
“I would like to appeal to those who feel aggrieved to desist from intimidation, road disruptions, undermining of existing laws and structures. We made a promise to meet the industry and we are committed to ensure that a workable solution is found through legislation and other means. We also encourage that existing forums at national and provincial level take the opportunity to find solutions.”
The Transport Department said it was addressing licensing and other issues, including: cross-border transport relations, foreign drivers issued licences, fake licences, prosecution of non-complying employers, and discrimination against local drivers by the industry.
The joint inspection undertaken to address non-compliance in the freight sector will also be intensified with law enforcement, including migration and road traffic and SAPS playing a much more active role.
The government further committed to do a scan of migration and transport legislation impacting negatively on South African drivers, as well as to implement tough measures against employers who continued to employ people without proper documentation.
There has been a long-standing outcry from the All Truck Drivers Foundation (ATDF) that non-South African drivers were given preference when it came to employment.
Two weeks ago, about 30 truck drivers blockaded the N3 highway near Harrismith as part of a national protest by truck drivers.
The SA National Cargo Transport Drivers Association previously threatened to intensify its protest action should the government not de-register all foreign truck drivers.
The association claimed South Africans were being marginalised and that trucking companies preferred foreign drivers who worked for cheaper rates.
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