Transport department to engage with Uber and metered taxi drivers after violent clashes

Uber drivers in Sandton retaliated on Thursday evening for the first time after months of tension between them and metered taxi drivers.

Uber will ‘burn’ if it continues to run, say metered taxi drivers

In July, an Uber driver died of injuries he sustained when the car he was driving was set alight with him inside it on 10 June.

The incident on Thursday saw two Uber vehicles petrol bombed and metered taxi set alight outside the Sandton Gautrain station.

On Friday, the Uber Drivers Movement, which represents about 700 Uber and Taxify drivers in South Africa, said despite repeated attempts to draw attention to their safety concerns, nothing has changed. Some drivers now feel retaliation is the only way to respond. Spokesperson Teresa Munchick said: “It is sad that it has to reach this level before the authorities step in. We feel let down by Uber, the police and relevant authorities,” she said.

Uber driver: ‘You can never know if you are going to get back home’

The movement is appealing to all parties to bring an end to this violence.

In a statement, transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi denounced the violence, torching of vehicles and intimidation between the metered taxi operators and e-hailing partners.

He said perpetrators of violence and intimidation will be dealt with immediately. He called on the public to be vigilant and report any acts of lawlessness to police.

Maswanganyi said the transport department will continue to engage with the metered taxi association, Uber, Taxify and Zebracabs “in order to bring stability to the industry”.

A taxi driver who wished to remain anonymous said he would not be driving till the situation calmed down. “I am afraid, I’d be risking my life,” he said.

He said despite uber providing a number to call if they were in any sticky situations, he believed it would not help and was “just a formality”.

Reporting by Rumana Akoob and Mihlali Ntsabo

Featured image via Flickr