South Africa condemns taxi violence after Uber driver death

2017-07-19 09:07
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Johannesburg — South Africa's government has condemned what it calls tit-for-tat violence between drivers of metered taxis and those driving for companies that use ride-hailing apps, after an Uber driver died from injuries suffered in an attack.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says that there are "spiraling attacks and counter attacks" involving both groups of drivers, who are competing for the same business. The minister says he plans to meet an association representing metered taxi drivers as well as Uber management.

“This kind of behaviour which breeds intimidation and anarchy stands condemned and should not be allowed in our public transport system and our country in general,” Maswanganyi says in a statement.

SEE: Uber beefs up security for drivers after Pretoria fatality

Fin24 reports that Maswanganyi is set to meet with the SA Meter Taxi Association as well as Uber management to deal with the ongoing feud. See the full story here.

On Monday 17 July, Uber announced that it had employed private guards in a bid to beef up security amid allegations of intimidation and violence against drivers in Gauteng.

According to Wheels24, attacks on Uber drivers have focused on central Pretoria, downtown Johannesburg, the main rail stations and Johannesburg airport.

Uber South Africa says it is "deeply committed" to rider and driver safety, and is working with private security and South African Police Services to improve safety. It also says that "driver partners have access to an emergency line in the event they feel unsafe in any way".

Uber spokeswoman Samantha Allenberg says the company has "zero tolerance with regard to retaliation" for violence and intimidation against its drivers and riders.

South African Uber driver killed

The South African Uber driver died on Monday of burns suffered in June when assailants set his car on fire in Pretoria. His car was torched after an attack allegedly involving rival metre-taxi drivers.

The man was parked on a street at night when his vehicle was set alight and he suffered severe burns, Uber Africa says. Read News24's full report here.

Uber SA condemned the violent acts saying that these actions do not represent the entire industry and that the violence and intimidation against those who choose to use technology apps, like Uber, must stop.

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