Cape taxi council rejects violence against Uber

Uber protestors have marched through Cape Town city centre. (Dane McDonald, Fin24)
Uber protestors have marched through Cape Town city centre. (Dane McDonald, Fin24)

Cape Town - The Western Cape Metered Taxi Council (WCMTC) has rejected violence in light of increasing tensions between metered taxi drivers and ride-hailing application Uber.

"We are opposed to all violence, and we will protect the rights and safety of customers and therefore we need to engage correctly to make clients and industry aware regarding what is legal," Aldino Muller, chair of the WCMTC told Fin24.

The statement comes shortly after allegations that Uber customers Kerri Lehmann and Lauren-Lee Poultney were accosted by taxi drivers as they walked to an Uber car outside Sandton Gautrain station.

READ: Uber intimidation victims warn Sandton users

Muller said that it was critical to identify and expose pirate operators.

"This is why vehicle identification is important, the recent violence can be construed to possibly be illegals operating, as the victims could not identify any signage."

Following the incident with Lehmann and Poultney, Uber apologised and refunded R51.47 for the trip.

Watch this exclusive News24 Live video of the intimidation:

Taxi drivers are upset that Uber appears to be able to operate while they are constrained from competing due to the regulatory framework, among other issues.

In France and India, Uber has also faced mass protests as government officials grapple with how to deal with the firm that has disrupted the taxi industry.

Fin24 users though, generally expressed support for the ride-hailing application.

"Ag cry me a guys just can't compare to the competition & their innovation, besides I'm sure half of the taxi association dont even know how to use the technology even if they implemented it," wrote Jeetesh Raghunath.

"Go Uber Go," added Johan Esterhuizen, endorsing that sentiment.

Fin24 user Hazel Caldwell went further and wrote: "As usual, anything that is working well they want to control or break it up."

Muller regards Uber as a pirate taxi operation and recently the California-based company has had 200 vehicles impounded by the City of Cape Town.

"An unmarked vehicle operating as a taxi is setting a dangerous precedent, and Uber advocates this. The council wants to implement regulatory signage that will make metered taxis safe, identifiable and accountable to clients and law enforcement," Muller said.

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