Uber and Taxify driver’s demand justice for 21-year-old driver burnt to death

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Uber and Taxify drivers. Picture: Juniour Khumalo
Uber and Taxify drivers. Picture: Juniour Khumalo

On Friday a march led by activist group #NotInMyName, in memory of Siyabonga Ngcobo who was burnt alive last week, took place from the Tshwane University of Technology, Arcadia campus to Sunnyside, where the incident occurred.

Ngcobo, a 21-year-old final year Tshwane University of Technology student – studying sports management – joined the Taxify business a week before he died during a pick up from Arcadia on Friday March 1 allegedly by meter taxi drivers.

During the course of the march, a Taxify and Uber meeting chaired by Chris Ravhulali, chairperson of The Movement – an Uber and Taxify organisation that advocates for the safety and rights of drivers – called for the unity of the drivers in standing up to the violence and intimidation by meter taxi drivers.

Speaking to City Press, Ravhulali said: “The Movement met with (Ngcobo’s) family and we are working hand in hand with them to find the killers of Siyabonga. We know who burnt our person, he is being let down by the weak and dismembered justice system that is more know for certifying documents than dealing with crime.”

During the course of the march a number of mass meetings and addresses were heard from various groups, chairperson of #NotInMyName, Siyabulela Jentile, told the crowd that they have given the police and minister of transport a week to come forward with details of who killed Ngcobo. The crowd roared with approval while calling for justice for Ngcobo.

Some of the vulnerable groups from the Taxify and Uber industry include female drivers like Kgomosto Metuque. She said “as a woman I drive everywhere and oftentimes my shifts go into the night and your life is at risk and the police don’t help. It seems as though people must die before any action is taken and all we are doing as drivers is trying to earn a living”.

Metuque added that “maybe Siyabonga was trying to raise fund for his fees or help his family, but now he was killed maliciously by people who, instead of becoming good competitors or members of the Taxify or Uber business, opt to use violence to take us out.”

Speaking to City Press the national secretary-general of #NotInMyName, Themba Masango, who for most of the morning directed the day’s event said, “it has been eight days and there are no leads on the killers of Siyabonga, and us as #NotInMyName call on law enforcement to act with urgency.”

Masango added, that “we are also asking for the department of transport to convene with taxi associations to put an end to the killings. This needs to stop.”

Also in attendance were the friends and colleagues of the late Ngcobo. Speaking to City Press, a tearful Khanyisile Zulu, who was doing her final year in sports management, says she was in the same group of friends and class with Ngcobo.

“We as his friends are devastated. We learnt of his passing from a social media post. During the day I was scrolling through social media and saw tweets about a certain Taxify driver who had died, but because it happens so often I didn’t pay mind until my attention was brought to the fact that this is my friend,” she said, stopping to wipe away tears that were flowing down her face.

Zulu added that yesterday a few close friends paid their respects at the scene of the crime.

“I am Zulu and in my culture we believe that until the family comes to fetch their child’s spirit, it will not leave. The family hasn’t come yet, so while we mourn, we are comforted by the fact that we believe Siyabonga is here with us today. He sees us and he will work with us to get to the bottom of his tragic death.”

Zulu said his loved ones where overwhelmed and grateful for the outpour of support from members of society.

“We want to say thank you to South Africa and Africans for standing with us. We hope you will continue to advocate for justice and the end of violence against people who are trying to make a living and not let it end with social media hashtags.”

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