Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says SADC should intervene and find a solution for the violence against foreign truck drivers that is being perpetrated by South Africans.
And Kampyongo says South Africans should stop thinking that they will always be superior to other Africans.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s breakfast show, Monday, Kampyongo also urged Zambian truck drivers to remain calm and not to retaliate because government is working hard to resolve the problem.
“The development regarding the truck drivers in the Republic of South Africa is a source of concern not only to the Zambian Government but to the SADC region as a whole. We as SADC are encouraging trade and you have seen the level of investment that has gone into facilitation of trade across the SADC region. If you look at development like the bridge that is being constructed in Kazungula, all that is meant to facilitate the movements. And believe you me, those that want to be inferior and think that one such country should terminate the movement of goods are misplaced. We see lorries from Zambia, from Tanzania crossing the SADC region and for people to think that they can operate with a cluster and think they will continue to be superior is very unfortunate,” Kampyongo said.
“What we have done is, instead of the Government of Zambia going in this alone, this problem requires a SADC approach, it requires a SADC solution. But much more, it needs a cultural change of mindset with regard to those drivers…I don’t know how they think because these South African drivers are on the roads of other countries every day. Our president is actually concerned also and we have been engaging at that level with his counterpart.”
And Kampyongo urged truck drivers to observe the travel alert which was issued by the Zambian mission in that country.
“We shouldn’t look at it as a payback and start retaliating. We have always provided leadership when it comes to conflict like this. And my plea to our drivers is we understand their frustration [but] there is need for us to restrain. So my appeal to truck drivers is that we are not sitting back but certainly, retaliating and going into reciprocating what other people would want on the other side won’t help us in resolving these problems. Let them remain calm and they can be assured that we are going to find an amicable solution. I will also be engaging with my counterpart in South Africa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Kampyongo.
“But I think it’s something that should not be allowed to escalate and the alert issued by our mission in South Africa should be observed because have got these people that could be unruly and play with the wings. So we need time for the situation to calm down and people to get their minds settled. So we wouldn’t want our people to get caught up in some of those incidences which could turn to ugly things or xenophobia.”