We had permission to drive trucks into Pretoria CBD - Coal Forum
Pretoria – The Coal Transporters Forum (CTF) has denied "strongarming" its way into staging a protest on Wednesday morning.
The City of Tshwane was aware that it would be bringing over 100 of its trucks into the city centre, CTF spokesperson Mary Phadi told journalists.
"We did not strongarm anyone. We did an application. They have given us a permission to march today. We are expecting the security cluster to communicate," she said.
Phadi said their work was to bring the trucks into the city, on time and without incident.
At least 100 trucks blocked a number of highways into central Pretoria. The drivers hooted as they crawled into the CBD. Distressed commuters vented their frustration on social media.
The truckers were making their way to the old Putco depot in Marabastad, from where they would travel to the Union Buildings in a convoy of cars.
Phadi said the purpose of their protest was to hand a memorandum to President Jacob Zuma’s office, in which they object to Eskom signing agreements with independent power producers (IPPs).
"It will be so irresponsible for Eskom to sign those agreements. It’s important for the drivers and their families. It’s important for their livelihood. The drivers will be out of employment. The people they are assisting at home will suffer."
She said Zuma’s talk of radical economic transformation would not happen, should Eskom sign these contracts.
"This is not a political statement. This is a message to the president to say, please can you make sure you slow down the process of signing with IPPs so that we stay in business, instead of making sure all the mines close, turning Witbank into a ghost town."
Witbank is in the country’s major coal mining district.