3 August 2017

South Africa: SAPS Investigates Uber Driver Attack

The South African Police Service is investigating an incident in which its members are seen watching as an Uber driver was being attacked at the Mall of Africa on Sunday.

A video recording, which has recently gone viral, depicts police officials standing by idly and watching the Uber driver being attacked by metred taxi drivers.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the officials failed to act as required in terms of the South African Police Service Act, the Constitution and the SAPS regulations, adding that decisive action will be taken.

"This conduct, which has been broadcast on leading television stations and on social media, is completely in contrast with the SAPS Code of Conduct and is condemned."

Immediately after this matter was brought to the SAPS attention, an internal investigation was instituted.

"At least one member on the video, which was not very clear, was identified through other means," Naidoo said on Wednesday.

He said this member could well face disciplinary action and depending on the outcome of the investigation, criminal charges could ensue.

Efforts are also being made to establish if other members, not visible on the video footage, were at the scene.

Government has been negotiating with two warring taxi services in efforts to curb the violence.

The violence was sparked by metered taxi drivers who have called on the government to kick Uber out of the country, saying the service is putting them out of business.

The tensions between the two services claimed the life of an Uber driver a few weeks ago.

Last week, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi intervened and denounced violence between Uber drivers and metered taxi operators.

He said government is looking into amending the law to accommodate e-hailing services which include Uber, Zebra and Taxify.

Naidoo said the police remain committed to ensuring that people are and feel safe and have been given instructions to maintain high visibility in hotspots of the taxi violence.

"With regards to the conflict between taxi operators, our members have been given strict instructions to maintain high visibility in identified areas and to bring those perpetrating crimes to book," added Naidoo.

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