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Family of acid attack victim say it was not racially motivated

07 August 2017 - 14:07 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Crime scene police tape.
Crime scene police tape.
Image: Supplied

“Though the rider was white‚ I doubt this was racially motivated‚ it’s just another attack on Uber drivers. There are white drivers in the meter taxi industry as well‚” said the man who asked not to be named.

The cousin said that the family is saddened by this incident. According to him‚ the hospitalised driver is his cousin who works under him‚ driving his registered Uber car.

“He called me after the attack and unfortunately could not reach me. Luckily a security guard nearby saw him and called an ambulance.

“He told me that three minutes into the trip the rider said his destination was wrong and requested to change the location immediately after getting inside the car.

When my cousin was trying to change it on his phone; he raised his head to a splash of acid. He said that the rider then pushed him out and while he was on the ground the man reversed on him and drove off with the car‚” the cousin said.

The man had only been a driver for three months.

“He left his job in May at a debt collecting company to join Uber‚ he is very business oriented. His two siblings and other family members went to visit him yesterday and we found him starved. No one fed him‚ we found his food untouched. We had to bring him food‚” he said.

The cousin said he is worried that the burns might be worse when he visits him in hospital later on Monday.

“When I saw him yesterday he looked bad‚ I don’t know how he will look when I return.”

The victim’s cousin said that Uber had contacted the man’s girlfriend but did not enquire about his wellbeing. Instead‚ it was more concerned about the car.

“His girlfriend received a call from Uber but they are not giving us a way forward but they are merely asking about the car‚” he said.

Paramedics from ER24 and a local security company arrived on scene shortly after 2am on Milner Street in East Town‚ Johannesburg‚ where they found the man on the side of the road.

ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said the man had sustained severe chemical burns to his face and hands.

“According to the man‚ he arrived at his drop-off location and was assaulted by his passenger and liquid substance was thrown onto him.

“He was treated on scene and rushed off to a nearby hospital for further care. He was in a serious condition when paramedics transported him to hospital‚” Vermaak said.

He said the exact circumstances surrounding the incident would be investigated by the police.