Ongoing talks to end the three week, often violent truckers strike have deadlocked again. Workers affiliated to the biggest union South African Transport and Allied Workers Union as well as members of the Motor Transport Workers' Union have confirmed they will remain on strike.
It is reported that employers and unions in the trucking industry still remain divided. Unions are asking for a 19% increase spread over two years whilst employers have offered 18%.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance yesterday said that continued violence during the strike by truck drivers is proof of Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's shortcomings.
"The continuing transport strike violence is yet another example of our Police Minister's (Nathi Mthethwa) inability to maintain public order," DA police spokesperson Diane Kohler-Barnard said in a statement.
She said a man had died and 23 trucks had been torched as a result of the strike.
Kohler-Barnard also accused police of not responding to a "pattern of the burning of trucks" by strikers.
"This particular strike has been going on for over two weeks and yet the police have not managed to bring the criminality and violence under control."
Police spokesperson Zweli Mnisi defended the department's handling of the strike and accused Kohler-Barnard of "grandstanding".
"The criticism is unsubstantiated, but riddled with grandstanding," Mnisi said.
Kohler-Barnard said that while Mthethwa had issued a statement promising action against strikers "once again words have not been translated into action".
Mnisi countered that in the hours following Mthethwa's statement, 45 people were arrested by police.
Kohler-Barnard also accused police of not responding to a "pattern of the burning of trucks" by strikers. She said the trucks represented millions of rands to their owners who were not being protected by the police. The burning of property was damaging the nation's global image.
"The TV footage of burning trucks and violent and often armed protesters is being shown around the world. The impact on our economy is and will continue to be, inordinate," Kohler-Barnard said. – Additional reporting by Sapa