Trucker protest blocks several highways in Pretoria, traffic gridlocked

Motorists have reported traffic delays saying major roads have been blocked by protesters Pretoria this morning.

Coal Transportation Forum organised a protest following President Jacob Zuma's announcement that government will now employ Independent Power Producers.

Protesters say they want the President to withdraw his statement because the decision will result to job losses.

Spokesperson for the Coal Transportation Forum, Mary Phadi, says they are marching against IPPs because it will result to job losses.

Phadi says they are not blocking roads, but driving to the Union Buildings to submit the memorandum to the President.

Currently we are not blocking any roads. Trucks are driving into the CBD, and they should be driving at a slow pace. We have permission to do so, we did discuss with security cluster that we will be driving from 5 o’clock to 10:30.

Mary Phadi, Coal Transportation Forum

Eskom acting CEO, Matshela Koko, says they were not aware of the strike.

We have been in difficult discussions in the last two years that intensified in the last month. The negotiations are about our service providers, truck drivers. There are 48 of them in total, having 1100 trucks. They transport coal from various mines to power stations.

Matshela Koko, Eskom acting CEO

These are small and medium enterprises that we developed ourselves. We have done that quite successfully for the last five years.

Matshela Koko, Eskom acting CEO

The problem today is that we have energy surplus and energy demand is not growing. And we have increasing renewable energy coming onto stream. The consequence of that is that we now getting 3 million tons of coal that they were contracted to transport.

Matshela Koko, Eskom acting CEO

So, the 3 million (tons) coal that they contracted to transport is no longer there because we are taking on more renewables and the economy is not growing. We have energy surplus.

Matshela Koko, Eskom acting CEO

Coal Transportation Forum spokesperson Mary Phadi, spoke to Xolani Gwala and argued the trucks were travelling at a safe 20km per hour in what she says is a legal protest, and they are not deliberately blocking the roads.

Listen to the full interview with Eskom acting CEO, Tshwane mayor's office, Metro police chief and Coal Transportation Forum spokesperson below for more information...

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