WATCH: Uber has restored dignity to carless celebs, says Fikile Mbalula
In the midst of ongoing violence against app-based transport service providers, allegedly at the hands of metered taxi owners, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has applauded Uber for restoring dignity to struggling "celebs" across Mzansi.
At a press briefing held on Tuesday, Fikile said that competition was at the heart of the violence and that Uber offered a sophistication not provided by metered taxis.
“It is about the fact that Uber is too sophisticated and it has taken away a portion of the market from the taxi drivers. In terms of the metered taxi drivers, they are more expensive than Uber, and Uber is accessible at all places. It can fetch you from your house even if you are a celebrity and you don’t want to be seen that you don’t have a car. Uber has restored dignity to such people.
“When you are a celebrity, you are on TV, you don’t want to be seen in a taxi. You want to be dignified and Uber has brought that dignity,” said Fikile.
He added that the service allowed celebs to "jump out of expensive cars" and show off their lifestyle.
“You see people jumping out of expensive cars, thanks to Uber. It has restored the dignity of people practicing their celebrity status without being interrupted. That is what Uber has brought. Metered taxis on the other hand has identification. So when you come out of a metered taxi, you don’t want to be seen. It’s a lifestyle issue," he added.
Earlier this week, The Times reported that an Uber driver had died after he was attacked and set alight in his car in Pretoria last month. Gautrain stations have been identified as hotspots of intimidation against Uber drivers but Gautrain said on Tuesday that they will not be deploying extra security near its stations.