The increasing and ongoing wave of attacks on trucks has serious economic consequences for South Africa.
Apart from the short-term losses of millions of rands, there are also several negative long-term consequences for the economy, says Thys van Zyl, head of product development at Everest Wealth.
“Over the past few years hundreds, if not thousands, of trucks have been targeted and either looted and damaged or set on fire and left in ruins. The road freight transport sector is a key contributor to the country’s economy and attacks on trucks have a ripple effect on the bigger economic picture.”
This not only causes delivery schedules to be disrupted, but also causes truck owners to suffer huge losses and transport companies to close their doors, insurance premiums and safety costs to rise and consumers will ultimately have to bear the cost. This affects all other sectors and can also lead to further job losses.
“It’s economic sabotage and it’s just unbelievable that after so many years and so many promises, the government still can’t stop it. The attacks on trucks are possibly the last nail in the coffin when it comes to South Africa’s problems with logistics and freight transport.
“This together with the railways which have been completely destroyed and frequent chaos at the country’s ports and border posts means that consideration will instead be given to moving cargo through neighbouring and other African countries and that South Africa will therefore lose its status as the gateway to Africa.”
The attacks on trucks will also further deter investors. “This affects business confidence and foreign investment which has already been severely damaged due to various missteps and a lack of action by the government. It seems that the private sector will once again have to intervene, as it has done many times before, and this will result in significant costs that do not bode well for consumers who are increasingly financially strapped.”
If the government is serious about achieving any potential economic recovery, urgent action must be taken. “Loadshedding is already crippling the economy and the country cannot afford attacks on the trucking industry, a lifeblood of the economy. The government must also get reforms in place to remove the country’s logistical constraints so that the economy can grow.”