UPDATED: Gauteng MEC decries attacks on ehailing drivers in Soweto

  • On Thursday minibus taxi drivers allegedly attacked ehailing drivers at Maponya Mall in Soweto.
  • MEC for Transport and Logistics in Gauteng, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela has decried the attacks and said they should be dealt with harshly.
  • The SABC just this week highlighted the dangers faced by ehailing drivers.

This story has been updated to include comment from Uber South Africa.

Shortly after Uber began to rise in prominence, metered taxi drivers began attacking those who were using Uber to find riders. The attacks were brazen and many Uber drivers began avoiding areas where metered taxis were known to congregate. This week visions of that time came flooding back when footage appeared of ehailing drivers’ vehicles being burned shortly before gunshots echoed through the night at Maponya Mall in Soweto.

Warning the footage below may disturb some viewers.

The attack was allegedly launched by minibus taxi drivers who burned three vehicles and damaged four more at Maponya Mall.

This morning, MEC for Transport and Logistics in Gauteng, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela decried the attacks.

“We would like to strongly condemn these senseless attacks on individuals and damage to vehicles. These acts are unacceptable and must be dealt with harshly. We will not be deterred from building an integrated and modernised public transport system by individuals who use intimidation and violence to put their message across,” Diale-Tlabela said in a statement.

“We wish those injured a speedy recovery and call on law enforcement officials to work around the clock to apprehend those who were involved in this barbaric attacks. They should face the full might of the law,” the MEC added.

This attack is incredibly concerning especially given an investigation recently conducted by the SABC. In that investigation the SABC highlighted the dangers drivers face while working for the likes of Bolt and Uber.

Neither Bolt nor Uber has issued a public statement at the time of writing. We have asked both firms for comment, but neither was able to supply a statement before time of publication. When we receive those statements this story will be updated.

As a result of the attacks at Maponya Mall, three people are in hospital with one person sustaining injuries from a shooting during the incident.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the recent incident, this is something no one should ever go through. We take any incident of this nature very seriously and our safety team is investigating these incidents as a matter of urgency. We are in close contact with the police and stand ready to help law enforcement with their investigation,” an Uber spokesperson told Hypertext in a statement.

The firm also highlighted to Hypertext that it has several safety features in play include an in-app emergency button, GPS tracking and Safety Check-Up among others.


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