'We are being intimidated' - Uber driver

2017-03-10 11:24

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Johannesburg – As metered taxi drivers blocked off roads near the OR Tambo International Airport on Friday in protest against Uber, drivers from that service protested against their own company for allegedly not protecting them.

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.

The Uber drivers blocked roads around the company's offices in Parktown North.

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

"Uber is killing us," metered taxi driver Abner Mashikinoya said, shortly after drivers went on strike.

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.

Not addressing safety issues

"Uber… came here to kill the industry. We can’t even take our children to school. It's enough. We are tired and we are angry," he said.

Uber driver 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.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Ngwenya said Uber had promised to increase security at Park Station in Johannesburg, however, that had not happened and drivers still felt unsafe.

"We are the ones that are in the frontline, we are the ones facing all these things, we are the ones that are in the field and they are in the office."

Cash trips

Another Uber driver claimed that, since the company introduced the cash trips, drivers had been hijacked.

"They have introduced cash trips. They say we have a choice to do cash trips, and we don’t. We only know once we arrive whether it’s a cash trip," she said.

She said drivers should be given a choice about whether to take cash trips or not.

Meanwhile, Thulani Xaba said he felt the pressure that the metered taxis were feeling because of Uber taxis.

"From my side, if the metered taxi guys are striking, I am feeling their pressure as well. Yes they must strike – Uber came to South Africa to take their business. We understand that Uber is treating clients really well…"

He said Uber should engage with the metered taxi drivers to hear their concerns.

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Read more on:    uber  |  johannesburg  |  transport  |  protests

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