Uber calls for government's intervention to protect drivers

17 September 2021 - 19:45
Uber says it is concerned about criminal attacks on an e-hailing drivers, following the attack of an e-hailing driver in Katlehong.
Uber says it is concerned about criminal attacks on an e-hailing drivers, following the attack of an e-hailing driver in Katlehong.
Image: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Uber said it was worried about the latest attack on an e-hailing driver, and has called on the government and the police to intervene and prevent criminal activities targeted at the industry.

This follows an attack on a driver in Katlehong this week by members of a taxi association.

On Friday, the e-hailing company clarified that the driver, known as Mulalo, who was attacked by members of the Katlehong People’s Taxi Association, is not contracted to Uber.

“We are appealing for additional support from the government and SA Police Service to assist in both the prevention of these crimes, as well as to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice. Uber is open to working with the government so that we may contribute to the continued safety of drivers and riders,” the company said in a statement.

“This incident is deeply upsetting, and our thoughts continue to be with the victim of this incident, but currently it seems the driver is not active on the Uber platform. However, our incident response team is investigating this. There is no excuse for the violent acts described. We know that these actions do not represent the entire industry. However, this violence and intimidation must stop.” 

On Thursday, Gauteng public transport and roads infrastructure MEC Jacob Mamabolo condemned the attack on the driver, and called for law enforcement to bring the perpetrators to book.

The driver was taken to hospital after being attacked by members of the Katlehong People's Taxi Association, who repeatedly flogged him.

On Thursday, he allegedly took a client to Thokoza and members of the taxi association parked their cars in front of his and ordered him to follow them to their office.

He got scared and tried to drive away, damaging his car. The members of the association also allegedly took his spare wheel and R400.

Mamabolo said: “I am appalled by the level of savagery and hate displayed by the individuals who perpetrated this violence. These acts are unacceptable and must be condemned. We pledge our solidarity with the victim and wish him a speedy recovery.”

He called on law enforcement to arrest the individuals involved in the crime. Mamabolo said his department has made significant strides together with the taxi industry to root out violence in their operations since the Gauteng taxi summit held in Sedibeng in July 2019.

Uber said the safety of its clients s and drivers is a top priority, and “we have a number of safety features available such as access to an in-app emergency button and 24/7 in-app support”. 

“We encourage drivers and riders to report any incidents of intimidation to Uber and the police so these can be resolved. Our incident response team is available to respond immediately to any reported incidents, and our law enforcement relations team is on call to work with police at any time to respond to urgent needs.”

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