Proposed Amendments to Transport Regulations.


By NEASA

The Department of Transport has published proposed amendments to the Transport Regulations for public comment.

The proposed amendments effectively state that a foreign driver, who does not have a valid South African Professional Drivers Permit (PDP), is not permitted to drive a vehicle registered in South Africa but may only drive a vehicle registered in the country where the PDP was issued.

NEASA has submitted comprehensive objections resisting these amendments which can be viewed below.

MAN IN CHARGE: CEO OF NEASA, Gerhard Papenfus

21 May 2021
COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT AMENDMENT OF THE
NATIONAL ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATIONS, 2000

1. INTRODUCTION
2. COMMENTS ON RECOMMENDED SECTION 116 AMENDMENTS
3. CONCLUSION

1. INTRODUCTION

The Department of Transport has published Government Gazette 44484 of 23 April 2021, in which it requests comment on these proposed amendments to the Road Traffic Regulations. NEASA hereby submits its comments in respect thereof.

The draft amendment proposes that the following provisions should be inserted into the current Road Traffic Regulations:
“116A. Authority of a Professional Driving Permit issued in a foreign country
(1) The authority provided by a professional driving permit issued in a foreign country shall apply in respect of a vehicle registered in the country that issued any such permit.
(2) A permit referred to in sub-regulation (1), shall not apply to a vehicle registered in the republic.” The purpose of this amendment, ostensibly, is to reduce the number of foreign drivers of vehicles in the South African transport industry. This desire, supposedly, emanates from the violence that the transport industry has been experiencing over the last number of years and which was allegedly due to the dissatisfaction of certain “terror”  organisations with the number of foreign drivers of South African vehicles.
These organisations, which refuse to become part of any lawful structure, have been,
indiscriminately, terrorising employers and drivers, both local and foreign. These organisations attempt to justify the attacks by, incorrectly, stating that the majority of drivers of South African vehicles are foreigners.
The proposed amendment attempts to address these complaints by no longer recognising the validity of a foreign-issued Professional Drivers Permit (PDP) on a vehicle registered in South Africa, but only become effective, foreign drivers, currently legally employed in South Africa, with PDP’s issued in their home country, will immediately become unemployable.

2. COMMENTS ON RECOMMENDED SECTION 116 AMENDMENTS

The amendments, if implemented, will have the following consequences:
a. Employers will immediately have to dismiss all foreign drivers currently lawfully in their employ, based on operational requirements or incapacity, which may well be an infringement of the constitutional right to fair labour practices, which right also extends to foreigners.
b. These dismissals will come at a massive cost to employers in terms of retrenchment packages or awards for unfair dismissal.
c. Many foreigners may well simply go through the process to acquire a South African driver’s license, thereby circumventing the regulation, which nullifies its use.
d. Employers may well register a company in neighbouring countries and consequently also register the vehicles in these countries.
e. Employers generally employ foreigners as it reduces delays at border controls where cross-border transportation takes place; the banning of foreign drivers will lead to longer standing times, less turnover, and less income for the economy.
f. Neighbouring countries may adopt the same approach in retaliation and effectively ban South African drivers of foreign-owned vehicles.
g. It will embolden “terror” organisations as they will realise that government will accede to their demands as long as they are violent, cause damage and commit murder.
h. It may spell the beginning of the end for collective bargaining as employees will see that they can achieve their goals through violence and by operating outside of established negotiation structures. This tactic, if succumbed to, will, no doubt, also spread to other sectors of the economy.
i. The amendments, and the motivation behind them, will be viewed as xenophobic, an area in which South Africa does not have a proud history.

3. CONCLUSION

On this premise, it is clear that these amendments will not achieve what they set out to do and will cause immeasurable harm to employers, the economy, collective bargaining and international relations.

GC Papenfus
CHIEF EXECUTIVE

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