Uber beefs up security for drivers after Pretoria fatality

Johannesburg - Uber has employed private guards in a bid to beef up security amid allegations of intimidation and violence against drivers in Gauteng, after the death of a driver whose vehicle was set alight.

On Monday, the cab-hailing service confirmed that an Uber driver who sustained major burns when his vehicle was set alight near Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria in June had succumbed to his injuries.

“We are aware of the intimidation against driver-partners and riders at the Gautrain stations across Gauteng. We have private security on site monitoring and managing the situation as best as possible, to ensure reliable pick-ups and drop offs,” Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said in an emailed statement. 

“Any situation where safety is put at risk is absolutely unacceptable to us. That a few metered taxi operators are choosing violence and threats against those bringing choice in transportation is unacceptable. Violence only underlines why people are increasingly choosing safe, reliable alternatives like Uber,” she added.

“We have requested an urgent meeting with the police minister and the minister of transport to resolve this situation and we are still waiting for their response,” Allenberg said.

“We will continue to provide additional security measures around the stations. However, Uber is not a security company and we need law enforcement and the police minister to get involved and help solve the issue as soon as possible,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration recently made a ruling that Uber driver-partners are now legally employed. This means they are able to form unions and embark on protest action. However, Uber said "there is a long legal challenge ahead before this ruling can be considered a win or a loss for any side on this important issue". 

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