9 September 2017

South Africa: Uber Petitions Transport, Police Ministers to Step in Amid Violence

Uber has launched a petition calling on Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to take action following the recent spate of attacks against Uber driver-partners.

Alon Lits, General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, said the company was extremely disappointed that the violence against Uber driver-partners continued unabated and that policy makers were blaming the violent behaviour on a "turf war".

Two vehicles, believed to be Uber taxis, were petrol bombed near a Gautrain station on Thursday evening.

The petition on Change.org already had 19,157 supporters as at 10:00 on Saturday morning.

"Like all South Africans, driver-partners using the Uber app want to exercise their freedom to do their jobs and earn a living for their families without fear of intimidation and violence.

"However, the authorities and regulators whose responsibility it is to protect the citizens of this country and their consumer choice, are not taking firm enough action against violent criminals, and the violence against drivers choosing technology apps such as Uber continues unabated," reads the petition.

"We continue to do all we can to assist in preventing incidents, spending millions of rands on private security for driver-partners. However, we are not law enforcement, and government and police need to step in and take a stronger stand to end this violence and intimidation against those bringing progress and choice in the industry," said Lits.

Lits said despite a number of discussions with regulators and policy makers, there had been over 200 recorded incidents against driver-partners since July, and still no meaningful interventions or arrests have been made.

"The Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula have made a number of statements that they denounced acts of violence, torching of vehicles and intimidation.

"However little has been done to stop this criminal activity, and some metered taxi operators continue their violent acts in an effort to dictate how the citizens of Johannesburg choose to move around their city.

Maswanganyi's office was not immediately available for comment on Saturday.

Source: News24

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