• Government has committed to clamp down on illegal migrants who are working in transport and logistics.
  • Road traffic authorities and the police will be playing a “much more active role”, and government said legislation for the sector will be reassessed.  
  • The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union welcomed the move. 

  • Government plans to crack down on foreign drivers who are working in South Africa illegally, and may change legislation to make it tougher for non-South African workers in the sector.

    On Friday, the Department of Employment and Labour, the Department of Police and the Department of Home Affairs released a joint statement saying they had “committed to speed up” policy changes with regards to road freight after widespread protests by truck owners and drivers.

    The departments committed to increased action against undocumented migrants working in the transport sector, “as well as those who arrive in the country as visitors but end up taking employment, which is prohibited”.

    They said a joint inspection would be launched to address non-compliance in the freight sector, with road traffic authorities and the police playing a “much more active role”. 

    They further committed to an assessment of migration and transport legislation impacting negatively on South African drivers and to take measures against employers who hire undocumented migrants.

    Minister of Employment and Labour Thulas Nxesi Nxesi resolved to address “ongoing challenges” with regard to the “attitude and conduct of some employers in the sector who are accused of preferring to employ foreign nationals because they can exploit them”.

    Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said the Border Management Authority (BMA) would engage the trucking sector about policy adjustments and address any concerns by labour and employers.

    “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,” said Motsoaledi.

    Cosatu-aligned South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) welcomed the announcement and said it would ensure that South Africans could be prioritised in truck driving and e-hailing services.

    Satawu secretary general Jack Mazibuko said the promised intervention would affirm the Conditions of Employment Act, which says a foreign national should ideally be appointed to a job in South Africa if they possess a scarce skill that cannot easily be found locally.

    “Drivers and cleaners are not scarce skills … We are happy to know that […] a new bill will be created to ensure that those working in South Africa in these sectors all have a driving licence.”

    Mazibuko said undocumented migrants must not be prioritised when it comes to job opportunities and that anyone driving in South Africa must do so with permits or licenses issued by the South African government.

    “One of the reasons we met with the minister of Home Affairs was to clarify policy guidance when it comes to foreigners. Some are asylum seekers and those with documentation. We regard those as proper. We are talking about those who don’t have any documentation,” said Mazibuko.

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