Uber driver blames company for acid attack

22 August 2017 - 11:20
By Bafana Nzimande
The logo for Uber is shown on a vehicle.
Image: Robert Galbraith / Reuters The logo for Uber is shown on a vehicle.

Uber driver Kgomotso Tiro says company management is to blame for a passenger hurling acid at his face.

The 34-year-old was attacked on August 6 in Northcliff‚ Johannesburg‚ while transporting a client who had requested Uber cash trip services.

Tiro said drivers had informed Uber that the cash system exposes them to criminal elements. The cellphone-based app formerly operated exclusively by means of electronic payments.

“I am angry at Uber and the way it continues to conduct its business‚” Tiro said. “Many drivers have complained about the cash trip system before I was attacked but Uber has done nothing to improve the safety of drivers. I nearly lost my life. They never even came to see me in hospital.”

Tiro spent 12 days in hospital. He relied on the support of family‚ friends and his previous employer‚ Trans Union.

Uber representatives contacted his family while he was in hospital‚ but Tiro said that was not enough.

“Uber should have sent someone to the hospital to see the amount of pain I was in. Maybe then they would have had an idea why we want them to stop the cash trips‚” he said.

“I am still traumatised by the attack and I don’t have a plan to finance my medical expenses.”

The attack has left Tiro with burn wounds on his face‚ chest and hands.

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the attack. Police are investigating a case of hijacking and attempted murder.

Police spokesman Kay Makhubele said police are searching for a white male.

“Police told me that my car has been recovered and it's currently impounded at Lenasia. I will collect it later today‚ but I won't be driving anytime soon‚” Tiro said.

“I am still scared.”

Uber has said that it had tried to visit Tiro in hospital but was refused permission to see him.

“We are fully aware of this terrible incident which is deeply upsetting to all of us at Uber. We have made every effort to visit him in the hospital and met with his family while there. We continue to stay in contact with them‚” Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said in a statement.

“We are disheartened to hear that he feels we have not provided any support. We will make contact again today to ensure he knows we are there to support him during this difficult time.

“We are investigating the incident and stand ready to help the police with any information needed for their investigation.”