- Twenty-one trucks have been attacked and set on fire since Sunday.
- Becky Seeley said the attacks were organized, coordinated and sophisticated.
- Seely said law enforcement has identified 12 people of interest.
Available evidence indicates that the recent wave of attacks and truck burnings in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal were organized, coordinated and sophisticated – the aim was to “undermine and subvert the state”.
This was according to Police Minister Becky Seeley, who briefed the media on Wednesday afternoon.
Twenty-one trucks have been burned since Sunday, and the latest accident resulted Four trucks were set on fire in Mpumalanga at around 05:30 On the N2 between Piet Retief and Ermelo.
Speaking about the cause of the attacks, Seely said that the intelligence indicated that the targeting of the trucks might be work-related and not just random criminal acts.
“The evidence before us points to organized, coordinated and sophisticated operations that seek to undermine and sabotage the state,” Seely said.
Seely said the attacks affected the economy and therefore amounted to an attack on the state.
He denied suggestions that the attacks were caused by the employment of foreigners as truck drivers.
Most of the drivers are South Africans, Sealy said, and the trucks are associated with South African companies. Only three foreign trucks were targeted, two in Mpumalanga and one in KZN.
The target trucks also had a common denominator – most of them were carrying coal and chrome.
Seely said there was no evidence to suggest the arson attacks were linked or related to the July insurgency.
I would like to take this opportunity to assuage any fears that what happened in July 2021 will repeat itself.
Seely said police are already investigating the incidents and have plans to reduce the attacks.
“In this regard, SAPS has enhanced police visibility and left nothing to chance in all counties. All major roads are secured, and regular patrols are conducted along identified high-risk roads.”
According to Seely, 12 persons of interest have been identified.
Details of accidents
Seely said reports of trucks being attacked in Free State and Gauteng were incorrect.
And in the Free State, on Monday, a truck suffered a mechanical failure and caught fire. In another incident, a truck overturned and caught fire.
In Gauteng, a truck carrying flammable cargo overturned after a flat tire, and then an R59 caught fire. In the second accident, the truck driver lost control, and the overturned trailer at N12 caught fire.
The following attacks have been recorded:
• Nine trucks have been attacked in KwaZulu-Natal since Sunday.
• Nine trucks have been set on fire in Mpumalanga since Sunday. And
• Three truck attack in Limpopo.
In KwaZulu-Natal, six trucks were set on fire along Van Rienen Pass on Sunday night.
“A truck driver refused to stop when approached by armed men who opened fire on the truck, and the driver managed to drive away unharmed,” Seely said.
On the N11 in Ingogo, one truck was burned.
Two other trucks were set on fire on the N2 highway in Empangeni, with the two truck drivers attacked and robbed by gunmen on Monday.
Four other trucks were set on fire in Mpumalanga early Wednesday morning.
In Mpumalanga, five trucks were set on fire and attacked Sunday evening on the N4 highway near Waterfall Boven. Four other trucks were set on fire on Wednesday morning.
In Limpopo, three trucks heading to the local chrome mine along the R577 motorway between Lydenburg and Sikhon in Limpopo, were attacked and burned by six armed men.
Seely said investigations indicated that the trucks attacked in Limpopo had nothing to do with those in Mpumalanga and KZN.
“Police investigations to date point to ongoing labor dispute and service delivery issues in the Lydenburg mining belt.”