Johannesburg – "Uber is killing us," metered taxi driver Abner Mashikinoya said shortly after drivers went on strike, causing a traffic nightmare in Ekurhuleni on Friday morning.
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Mashikinoya, a member of the Uber task team which was established to kick Uber out of the market, said they have exhausted all avenues in government and had to go on strike.
Traffic was blocked on major roads in Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg, with over 60 metered taxi drivers blocking roads.
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"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.
Mashikinoya said metered taxi drivers were planning to partner with minibus taxi drivers to get government's attention.
"We are forced to partner with taxis. Government fears them, not us. They do not want to talk to us. They know Uber is illegal but have done nothing about it."
'Government is undermining us'
He said metered taxi drivers tried to organise a meeting with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters but her office cancelled the meeting at the 11th hour.
"This shows that government is undermining us. It must just stop. It came illegally, it’s operating illegally. It’s not registered, it’s something that came just to kill us."
He said things quickly changed for metered taxi drivers after the 2010 World Cup when government regulated prices.
"The government regulates pricing. They imposed R15 a kilometre. They never told us the World Cup is over, please go down. Now Uber came and surveyed our system, and went at the lowest price ever. I would also use Uber because it’s cheap."
He warned that more strikes were coming, should government refuse to remove Uber from the market.
"The government knows they have taken money from Uber because they are corrupt. They know this is wrong. The minister must answer. Stop giving us vague answers," he said.
It was reported that a convoy of striking taxi drivers were at Uber's office in Parktown North. Head of Uber SA, Alon Lits could not be reached for comment.