Uber, Bolt stage Durban protest after 'threats and extortion attempts' from YoTaxi
Police have fired teargas outside Musgrave centre in Durban, where e-hailing services say they have had enough of a new taxi service that is allegedly trying to drive them out of business.
The drivers, who did not want to be named, said they were being harassed by YoTaxi owners.
Vehicles belonging to Uber and Bolt drivers, who participated in an illegal protest, caused a traffic jam in Durban on Tuesday.
Durban Metro police spokesperson senior superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said officers had been deployed to the Musgrave area to “enforce and impound” offending vehicles said to belong to the e-hailing taxi services.
“It's an illegal protest, an illegal motorcade ... it’s illegal everything,” Sewpersad told TimesLIVE.
A slow-moving motorcade proceeded from Blue Lagoon towards Musgrave on Tuesday.
The blockade followed media reports that YoTaxi members had threatened to stop Uber and Bolt drivers from operating and that they were demanding money from them to continue doing business in Durban.
However, Sewpersad reported no such incidents.
“If there is any violence, we will act immediately,” he said.
According to its social media pages, YoTaxi was launched in response to Uber and Bolt allegedly taking business from the minibus taxi industry.
The new e-hailing service said it was created by the “industry for the industry”.
However, it is unclear which associations are behind the colourfully branded vehicles.
“We haven't been able to determine which organisations are behind it, so we can't really comment. We have over 200 associations under the council, but they do not require our permission for their own initiatives,” said SA National Taxi Council provincial manager Sifiso Ntshangase.
He added that the council condemned intimidation in the industry.