A South African company operating in Botswana has fired 35 local truck drivers who were earning P12,000 a month on average and replaced them with cheap labour from South Africa.
On the day the 35 local truck drivers were fired by fuel and logistics company Grindrod Petrologic, they were instantly replaced with migrant labour from South Africa, hired through an employment agency.
The union representing the truck drivers is convinced the citizen truck drivers were set up by their employers, as they allege it would seem someone was planted to record all the 35 truck drivers and use the recording in the hidden tapes against them, although he was also quick to add that even the so-called recordings have no evidence of theft.
Currently all the affected truck drivers are going through a disciplinary hearing. In all the over 20 cases heard so far, all the litigants have been found guilty and advised to appeal.The speed with which the migrant workers were hired raised suspicions that they might not be having proper work permits, prompting the workers union to alert the local police to the criminal activity.The union investigations revealed that when the Gaborone West Police raided one of the trucks two Fridays back, the driver said he was not permanently based in Botswana.
“We suspect they gave the police misleading information because on the contrary they are based here, they sleep in their trucks inside the premises, and continue to fuel local filling stations for Grindrod Petrologics. We have even established that their salaries are paid from Botswana,” added the workers union chairperson Kgomotso Panye.
Meanwhile on Thursday Tlokweng Police sent two vans with tens of police officers to raid the fuel and logistics company for the migrant truck drivers.
However, Tlokweng Police station Commander Robson Maleka insisted that their raid was a routine activity meant to confirm work and residents permits and that they have since satisfied themselves with what they saw at the company.