South Africa

TRANSPORT VIOLENCE

Many foreign truck drivers fail to report attacks, inquiry is told

Many foreign truck drivers fail to report attacks, inquiry is told
A challenge faced by the National Prosecuting Authority was the lack of CCTV cameras, or poor CCTV footage at truck violence hot spots, the South African Human Rights Commission investigation into violence in the road freight industry was told yesterday. (Photo: Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht)

An NPA state advocate has told the SAHRC investigation that in some instances foreign truck drivers are too scared to approach the police when they are attacked because their status as foreign nationals will be uncovered.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) investigation into violence in the road freight industry was yesterday told that many foreign truck drivers who were attacked failed to report the cases to the police.

Gideon Mashamaite, a senior state advocate in the NPA’s Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit in KwaZulu-Natal, told the commission that KZN was experiencing a lot of truck violence and that there were many cases currently before the NPA. 

He said while South Africa was calling for the NPA to act, the unit cannot do so without the help of other stakeholders such as the police and the department of justice.

Mashamaite told the commission that one of the organisation’s challenges was that sometimes foreign truck drivers complain to the police but fail to follow up on their complaints. 

He said in some instances the foreign truck drivers are too scared to approach the police when they are attacked because their status as foreign nationals will be uncovered. Instead of reporting the attacks to the police, a number of truck drivers returned to their home countries.

Human Rights Commissioner Chris Nissen asked Mashamaite if the NPA was doing enough to find undocumented foreign complainants.

Said Mashamaite: “Like I said, it becomes a huge challenge for the NPA and the police because sometimes they just don’t want to be found because of their illegal status in the country. They think that when they approach the police they might get themselves arrested.” 

He said another challenge faced by the NPA was the lack of CCTV cameras, or poor CCTV footage at truck violence hot spots.

He told the commission that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) was shamefully under-resourced, but the current head, Shamila Batohi, was breathing new life into the organisation.

“It’s a national gripe that the NPA has insufficient resources. Our new NPA head, Shamila Batohi, has been industrious and filling posts which have been vacant for a very long time. She is making sure that management functions optimally. She understands that we are overwhelmed by the influx of cases.” DM

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