Johannesburg, South Africa – July 12, 2023: Brand South Africa has condemned the torching of several trucks that engulfed the country recently. As an organisation mandated with managing the image and reputation of South Africa, we urge those who are behind this violent act to refrain because it is damaging the image and the reputation of South Africa as a country.
In a period of less than a month 20 trucks were burnt in South Africa’s three provinces; Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, and Limpopo. Sithembile Ntombela, Acting CEO of Brand South Africa says, “We are very concerned about this act of violence which is denting the image and reputation of the country. We strongly believe that there are other instruments that people can use to air their grievances if any. Causing this level of damage to property is equivalent to economic sabotage and the consequences for the country’s economic prospects in terms of investor confidence will be severe, she said, adding that “The timing of these heinous acts is also disturbing, understanding that we are on the verge of hosting international dignitaries who will be attending the BRICS summit that will be held in Johannesburg next month. We call for calm and restraint and urge South Africans to work with law enforcement authorities to put perpetrators behind bars.”
The attack on truck drivers started a few weeks ago in KwaZulu-Natal where six trucks were set alight on the N3 roads and it later escalated to other provinces. One of the recent incidents which took place on the N4 near Machardodorp, Mpumalanga – a group of people stopped six trucks and burnt them placing lives at risk and causing severe damage to property.
In all the reported incidents the drivers of the trucks escaped unharmed, but were robbed of their belongings and ordered to step out of the vehicles before torching them. Meanwhile, Police Minister, Bheki Cele says the police are working around the clock to arrest those responsible for this violent crime. “We know that this is not a random crime, as it might have been linked to some business related issue. Hence we are saying it is an organised crime. Police are following the leads on this matter.” Cele adds that the military has also been deployed throughout the country to make sure that similar incidents are averted.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has lambasted the act on the ground that it was economic sabotage. “We will not allow people to destroy the economic assets of our country. The attacks will have a negative impact to the economy of our country. So it must stop immediately. Investigations are underway and several leads are being followed to make sure that those who are behind this are arrested,” President Ramaphosa said.
According to the statistics released by www.statista.com, in 2021, the South African transport, storage, and communication sector contributed and added value of approximately R333.8 billion to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Issued by Brand South Africa