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Coal truckers claim protest a success

1 Aerial view of the protesting trucksPretoria - A coal truck driver’s protest that caused traffic chaos in Pretoria on Wednesday went ahead "perfectly" and without incident, a spokesperson said.

"We didn’t have any incident and everything we planned came out perfectly," Coal Transporters Forum spokesperson Mary Phadi said.

Nearly 250 trucks descended on Pretoria in the morning, blocking all roads leading into the CBD as they made their way to Marabastad. Motorists had to squeeze between the 35 ton vehicles in a desperate attempt to get to their destinations. 

Phadi said the protest was legal and no strong-arm tactics were used to get it approved.

The petite woman, dressed in an elegant African print dress, was at the centre of the protest. The male truck drivers seemed intimidated by her presence. At her instruction, the drivers refused to speak to the media.

Once they had parked in a field in Marabastad, they made their way to the Union Buildings in mini-bus taxis to deliver a memorandum to President Jacob Zuma's office.

An official from the Presidency signed the document, in which the truckers called for Eskom to put the brakes on signing agreements with independent power producers. They feared it would lead to the closure of coal mines and job losses.

"Our most important demands to the president are to attend to the job losses. Make sure mine houses and power stations are not closed," Phadi said.

She said they did not want Mpumalanga, the country's coal mining region, to become a ghost town.

"Government assured us they would come back to us within period of seven days."

Phadi said their exit out of Pretoria would be swift and without incident.


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