Bolt suspends driver accused of rape from platform, condemns any form of violence

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  • E-hailing app Bolt South Africa has suspended a driver accused of rape from its platform.
  • A woman took to social media to share her friend's horrific ordeal, allegedly at the hands of a Bolt driver.
  • Bolt says it has engaged with the victim several times.

E-hailing app Bolt South Africa has suspended one of its drivers who was accused of sexual assault over the weekend.

"Bolt is aware of the incident in which a young woman suffered a terribly traumatic experience in Cosmo City. We have engaged with her several times, and we are fully cooperating with the Honeydew police station in their investigation into the incident, as this is where she has opened a case.

Bolt's regional manager for SADC, Gareth Taylor, said in a statement on Tuesday: 

The implicated driver has been suspended from the platform and will only be reinstated if he is fully exonerated by the SAPS.

This was after a woman took to social media on Friday, stating her friend had been sexually assaulted, allegedly by a Bolt driver.

This prompted many users to caution members of the public, especially women, about the e-hailing app and urging them to delete it for their safety.

When asked by News24 on its vetting process for drivers, Bolt said those who wanted to use its platform to connect with passengers required a professional driving permit issued by local authorities.

"This permit is only granted to applicants who pass a full criminal background check completed by the authorities. Only persons with a clear record are permitted to join the platform," Taylor added.

READ | Uber launches women-only feature for female drivers in SA

Bolt said it prohibited drivers from authorising any other person to use their Bolt Driver Account.

Taylor added: 

Any driver found to be renting their profile to any other party, or allowing any unauthorised person to use their profile for any reason, will be removed from the platform permanently.

The e-hailing service said this amounted to fraud, and it would not hesitate to lay charges against any individual that committed this crime.

In addition, Bolt has appointed forensic investigators to look into the issue.

The e-hailing service said it continued to look for ways to make e-hailing safer for everybody, in consultation with its stakeholders.

"Bolt condemns any form of sexual harassment or violence of any kind directed towards e-hailing passengers because it believes that every South African has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of harassment, injury, or death" Taylor added.

News24 contacted Gauteng police for comment. It will be added once received.

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