Home Fleetwatch 2022 Opinion Piece: Transporters – it’s time to make your legal stand

Opinion Piece: Transporters – it’s time to make your legal stand

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More than 300 trucks were removed from queuing on the N2 National Road by armed men and escorted to the outskirts of Empangeni where they were staged at the old airport and surrounding areas.
More than 300 trucks were removed from queuing on the N2 National Road by armed men and escorted to the outskirts of Empangeni where they were staged at the old airport and surrounding areas.

By Shaun McGuone, Director, Investipol.

For too long now transporters have been the victims of numerous criminal actions that are crippling the industry. These include hijackings, public violence, illegal road closures, intimidation of drivers by various groups – to mention just a few. I believe it is high time that the transport industry makes a legal standpoint to invoke our constitutional rights that are so well embedded in our Constitution – such as “the right to freedom of movement”.

Equality

9. (1) Everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law.

Freedom and security of the person

12. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person, which includes the right—

(a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;

(b) not to be detained without trial;

(c) to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;

(d) not to be tortured in any way; and

(e) not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

Freedom of movement and residence

21. (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement.

Freedom of trade, occupation and profession

22. Every citizen has the right to choose their trade, occupation or profession freely. The practice of a trade, occupation or profession may be regulated by law.

The Constitution clearly states that everyone is equal in terms of the law, that meaning that every citizen has equal rights in terms of the Constitution. No one person or group of people has more rights than you.

More than 300 trucks were removed from queuing on the N2 National Road by armed men and escorted to the outskirts of Empangeni where they were staged at the old airport and surrounding areas.
More than 300 trucks were removed from queuing on the N2 National Road by armed men and escorted to the outskirts of Empangeni where they were staged at the old airport and surrounding areas.

The way forward for us needs to be that of legal compliance:

  • Every time one of your trucks is prohibited from travelling freely down a road, a criminal case needs to be opened.
  • Every time one of your trucks is removed from the road by armed thugs, a criminal case needs to be opened.
  • Every time one of your trucks is damaged by protesting groups of people, a criminal case needs to be opened.

It is your right to open a criminal case with the South African Police Services and we need to start getting the number of cases together so that senior police officials can do something about the crimes that are affecting this industry so badly.

For instance, recently at Richards Bay more than 300 trucks were removed from queuing on the N2 National Road by armed men and escorted to the outskirts of Empangeni where they were staged at the old airport and surrounding areas. Admittedly there was chaos on the roads. However, these armed men had no legal right to remove the trucks and escort them to this unauthorised destination.

If each and every driver opened a criminal case of hijacking (as the truck drivers were taken at gunpoint against their will) and intimidation, we would have had about 300 cases or more opened on one day. When the national police commissioner looks at these statistics and sees 300+ cases of hijacking in one small area on one day, he would have to send resources to investigate and resolve the issue. When no cases are opened there are no statistics and the police commissioner is happy that there is no problem.

Every time your truck is held in illegal road closures by protesting groups, this impacts on your constitutional right to freedom of movement and freedom of trade to make a honest living.

Shaun McGuone, Director, Investipol
Shaun McGuone, Director, Investipol

Remember – it remains an offence in terms of the National Road Traffic Act,1996/and it’s Regulations for any person to block a public road. Refer to Regulation 319 for ease of reference.  “319. Hindering or obstructing traffic on public road

(1) No person shall wilfully or unnecessarily prevent, hinder or interrupt the free and proper passage of traffic on a public road.

(2) Subject to the provisions of the Act or any other law, no person shall place 

or abandon or cause to be placed or abandoned on a public road any object that may 

endanger or cause damage to traffic on such road.”

Can you see the positive impact if each and every truck driver were to open a criminal case for each of these incidents. As I have stated above: The way forward for us needs to be that of legal compliance. 

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