Zimbabwe has warned that the non-renewal of work permits for Zimbabwean truck drivers in South Africa will have a huge adverse impact on the economies of SADC member countries. Pindula News presents a letter written by the Transport Ministry to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade:
REF: NON-RENEWAL OF WORK PERMITS FOR ZIMBABWEAN TRUCK DRIVERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Reference is made to the above-mentioned subject matter.
The Ministry has received concerning reports on the imminent non-renewal of work permits for Zimbabwean truck drivers in South Africa. Over the years, we have dealt with sporadic situations where trucks were stopped, and foreign drivers attacked by violent gangs in South Africa. In many of these instances your esteemed office has been of great assistance, and we sincerely appreciate your support.
South African companies who have contracted foreigners as drivers are now under pressure to employ their nationals. Consequently, this will lead to a possible termination of employment contracts of Zimbabwean drivers if their work permits are not renewed. This is a major concern for our truck drivers and transport operators as our bilateral and regional protocols provide that cross-border road transport must be conducted in the spirit of fair competition, providing for equal treatment, and upholding the principles of non-discrimination and reciprocity. These protocols are meant to facilitate the smooth flow of cross-border traffic and promote trade within the SADC and COMESA regions.
It is important to note that truck drivers are also key drivers of our economies within SADC, therefore must be treated with dignity, and protected by every country in the region. Therefore, we kindly request your intervention and use the diplomatic channels at your disposal to avert a potentially volatile situation.
Once again, we thank you in advance for your usual support.
Eng. T.K. Chinyanga Secr for Transport and Infrastructural Development