N3 Toll Route says no indication when Van Reenen’s Pass would be cleared
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Durban – The N3 Toll Route says there's no indication currently as to when the obstruction at Van Reenen’s Pass on the N3 would be cleared.
On Friday morning the road between Van Reenen's Pass and the Tugela Toll Plaza was closed due to a blockade by truckers.
By noon, nothing had been resolved with the N3 Toll Route reporting “extensive traffic backlogs” being reported in both directions from KwaZulu-Natal to the Free State.
“Traffic in the area remains at a standstill as all lanes remain closed. Severe congestion and delays will continue to be experienced along all routes in the region. Road users are advised to delay travel to the area until further notice,”
Durban Chamber said these recuring blockades of the N3 are a cause for concern.
"The KZN economy is extremely reliant on the N3 Corridor, as it serves as a critical trade route, connecting our two harbours to the SADC region. Hence, such behaviour cannot become a norm of addressing social issues in South Africa. If these protest actions persist it will impact the entire value chain from trucking companies to the receiving businesses," said Palesa Phili, Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC CEO.
She said continuous congestion, road closures and concerns of safety along the N3 are factors that create uncertainty and delays in freight turnarounds times and thus creating additional costs for businesses.
According to eThekwini Municipality Durban EDGE, it is estimated that when the logistics sector is not fully operational, due to torching of trucks, and blocking of key corridors such as N3, N2 and M7, it loses R800 million in GVA per month or R13,7 million per day.
"Following the Covid-19 pandemic and the July unrest we cannot afford losses such as these, we need to promote an attitude of rebuilding and reconciling. While we still do not have the full details of the reasons for the blockage is unknown, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry NPC condemns this disruptive behaviour and calls for urgent intervention.
"We encourage law enforcement to take the necessary steps to arrest the situation immediately, increase visibility and full coverage of the affected areas. As organised business, we call for stability and order. We remain committed to working with the public sector on finding workable solutions," she said.
Before 7am on Friday morning, KZN police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said traffic was being diverted via alternative routes.