Uber, metro police cars stoned in violent attack

Uber drivers and metro police were attacked in Sandton on Friday. (Image: Emer-G-Med)
Uber drivers and metro police were attacked in Sandton on Friday. (Image: Emer-G-Med)

Johannesburg - Three metro police officials have been injured after metered taxi drivers stoned two Uber cars and two metro police vehicles in Sandton on Friday.

The attack took place at 12.30pm on Friday on West Street outside the Sandton Gautrain station, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Edna Mamonyane told Fin24 by phone.

Two Toyota vehicles belonging to Uber partner drivers were damaged in the attack, said Mamonyane.

Two officers and one inspector then arrived on the scene to try calm the situation, added Mamonyane.

"But then the metered taxi drivers started stoning metro police, damaging two patrol vehicles and then injuring three officers,” Mamonyane told Fin24 by phone.

“One person from the metered taxi was arrested,” Mamonyane added.

An officer fired a warning shot but Mamonyane said that "nobody was injured from a gunshot".

Two metro police patrol cars were stoned in the attack, Mamoyane confirmed.

The attack has also come after Uber announced earlier on Friday that it plans to start accepting cash payments next week in South Africa.

JMPD are still investigating what sparked the attack, but this stoning incident follows clashes between metered taxi and Uber drivers earlier this week.

Two Uber cars were damaged in the attack on Friday. (Picture: The Sandton Times)

Previous clashes

A group of metered taxi drivers on Monday clashed with their Uber counterparts in the Johannesburg central business district.

The clash came amid the Gauteng provincial government announcing that it would formally license the car-hailing app service. The metered taxi drivers also tried to chase down Gauteng Transport MEC Ismail Vadi.

Some metered taxi drivers at the announcement on Monday said they don’t want Uber in South Africa.

Responding to Friday’s latest incident, Uber’s head of Sub-Saharan Africa said that “clashes is a strong word” to describe what happened.

"There was intimidation by metered taxi operators intimidating Uber partner drivers,” Lits told Fin24 by phone.

"But I think clashes doesn't describe what happened,” he said.

Uber, meanwhile, also released a statement on Friday that said: “As driver and rider safety is our top concern, we are encouraging drivers to avoid the Sandton area for now”.

Tensions between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers have been simmering ever since the internet ride-sharing service launched in South Africa in 2013.

Last year, reports emerged of rival metered taxis intimidating Uber drivers and passengers outside Gautrain stations in Sandton and Centurion.

In July last year, metered taxi drivers in northern Johannesburg also launched an illegal protest against Uber over the internet service’s alleged “unfair competition”.

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