truck drivers in south africa

Shortage of truck and bus drivers in South Africa as in the US and UK

South Africa is experiencing a shortage of skilled and qualified truck and bus drivers just like the US and the UK. This is according to Arnoux Maré, CEO of Innovative Solutions Group and Innovative Staffing Solutions.

He says early retirements and lockdown restrictions have caused a shortage of skilled and qualified truck and bus drivers in South Africa.

“Drivers are in such high demand, that employers simply do not have the capacity to allow them time off to enhance their skills and improve their abilities.”

Arnoux Maré, CEO of Innovative Staffing Solutions

Since the start of this year, there has been a shortage of about 3 000 truck and bus drivers, said Arnoux Maré, CEO of Innovative Solutions Group and Innovative Staffing Solutions.

Lockdowns have made it harder for new drivers to access training and get licensed, said Maré.

“This shortage leads to unskilled and illegal foreign national drivers being recruited. Drivers are in such high demand, that employers simply do not have the capacity to allow them time off to enhance their skills and improve their abilities. They are required to be behind the wheel every available moment,” he said.

“We are not against the appointment of foreign nationals, but they must come to South Africa with permits, all the requirements to work here, and also make sure that the people appointing them are in compliance with the laws of this country because that’s what makes it harder for South Africans to get a job – because the foreign nationals allow themselves to be used as cheap labour,” he said.


Anele Kiet, Satawu general secretary

According to Maré, the company employs and outsources over 7 500 drivers.

He said driver training is arguably the biggest intervention that can be made to reduce South Africa’s high road accident rate.

However, some employers may also be reluctant to train drivers, as they become more marketable and can be poached by competitors, said Maré.

Meanwhile, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, (Satawu) general secretary — Anele Kiet said foreign nationals are hired because they take whatever salary they are offered and don’t comply with the road freight bargain council.

“We are not against the appointment of foreign nationals, but they must come to South Africa with permits, all the requirements to work here, and also make sure that the people appointing them are in compliance with the laws of this country because that’s what makes it harder for South Africans to get a job – because the foreign nationals allow themselves to be used as cheap labour,” he said.

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  • Also, Maré said without skilled, committed truck drivers capable of safely operating multi-ton machines, much of the commerce in South Africa would grind to a halt.

    He added that the training given to drivers also provides logistic companies with the knowledge that drivers are adequately skilled for South African roads.

    Maré said in training drivers, driving centres go well beyond theoretical and practical driving experience and safety training, adding that the centres also get unemployed drivers ready for the market with job interviews and communication skills.

    “The training helps make drivers more aware of situations they may encounter on the road, such as heavy traffic, crime, bad weather conditions, fatigue and other drivers behaving irresponsibly, even faulty vehicle conditions,” he said, adding that the training centres help drivers understand how to respond to those conditions appropriately.

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