Threats, intimidation against our drivers unacceptable - Uber

2017-03-10 14:45
The aftermath of previous clashes between metered taxi and Uber drivers in Cape Town. (Photo: JP Smith, City of Cape Town)

The aftermath of previous clashes between metered taxi and Uber drivers in Cape Town. (Photo: JP Smith, City of Cape Town)

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Johannesburg – Uber South Africa says threats and intimidation against their "driver-partners", who want to use their services to boost their income, is unacceptable.

"Today’s [Friday] protest only underlines why people are increasingly choosing safe, reliable alternatives like Uber," Uber SA spokesperson Samantha Allenberg told News24 on Friday.

In the early hours of the morning, metered taxis blocked the R24 freeway heading east between Edenvale and Barbara Road off-ramp.

Major roads in the area have been re-opened after more than 60 metered taxis blocked roads near OR Tambo International Airport, Ekurhuleni metro police said.

Drivers from Uber protested against their own company in Parktown North for allegedly not protecting them.

However, Allenberg said the sentiments of the dozens of people outside their offices did not reflect those of the more than 4 000 "driver-partners" using the app across the country.

Focus on safety

"A driver can now drive as their own boss, on their own time, with the freedom to work when they choose, thanks to Uber – and more are eager to make the most of these opportunities every week," she said.

She said their technology made it possible to focus on safety for riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip.

Allenberg said they were keen to offer their technology to a broad number of taxi drivers to boost their chances of making a profit.

"In fact, many metered taxi drivers are already using our technology to boost their incomes and we would welcome more who wish to join their colleagues. We do not feel that it should be about Uber or taxi, but rather Uber AND taxi."

Shortly after drivers went on a strike on Friday morning, metered taxi driver Abner Mashikinoya said: "Uber is killing us."

Mashikinoya, a member of a task team which was established to kick Uber out of the market, said they had exhausted all avenues in government, and had to go on strike.

Drivers’ memorandum unanswered

Uber driver Zweli Ngwenya told News24 that some drivers had submitted a memorandum to Uber and were expecting an answer, however the company allegedly did not respond to them.

Ngwenya said they wanted the company to know that they wanted to work with them, and not fight them.

"When we try to talk to them, they always say they do not recognise groups, they recognise individuals. All of us are being intimidated. All of us, our cars are being smashed. It is a problem for each and every driver."

He accused the company of not doing anything to address safety issues.

But Allenberg said the company was committed to the safety of everyone who uses Uber.

"The quality of the drivers who use the Uber app is part of the reason so many people choose us as a safe, affordable way to get around Joburg," she said.

 - FOLLOW Jeanette Chabalala on Twitter

Read more on:    uber  |  johannesburg  |  transport  |  protests

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