The burning of trucks on the N3 and parts of Mpumalanga exemplifies the inefficiency of the government and its failures to perform basic functions such as protecting citizens and maintaining infrastructure.
This is the view of Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt, who told eNCA that the South African economy would suffer as a result of the truck burnings on the N3.
The key issue for Roodt is the fact that trucks should not be on the road in such high volumes in the first place, as freight should be transported via railways.
However, Transnet’s collapse has forced companies to transport freight via trucks which are more expensive and dangerous.
Road Freight Association CEO Gavin Kelly said that 80% of goods in South Africa are transported by trucks.
The incidents of truck burnings may result in some companies closing permanently due to an inability to transport freight securely.
“These incidents bring the fear of operating on the N3 back into the front of people’s minds. People will ask, should I apply my business here if it is not safe?”
Foreign companies may also second-guess whether they should import goods through South African ports, particularly Durban, with the country quickly getting a reputation for a general lack of safety.
Kelly said that foreign companies have already begun to look at using other ports in Africa to import their goods.
Roodt echoed this concern, saying that incidents of truck burnings indicate that South Africa is not a safe place to do business and will scare off investors.
“The South African economy will suffer, especially the poor who have to deal with higher prices for basic goods.”
The truck burnings for Roodt are only one example of the government failing South Africans.
“We have to do something about the efficiency of the state. The state is failing us here. The railroads are not working. Security is not working in South Africa either.”
Both Kelly and Roodt questioned why the police and intelligence services seem unable to handle these situations.
Roodt also raised the possibility that such disruptions to logistics in South Africa would result in increased inflation as products cannot get to market.
Disruptions will also impact economic growth. “We should consider ourselves lucky to have 0.1% GDP growth in South Africa,” Roodt said.