'He punched me in the face repeatedly' - Joburg woman tells of alleged horror attack by Bolt driver

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An evening out turned into a nightmare when a bolt driver allegedly assaulted a female passenger in Gauteng after he refused to start a trip when told to.
An evening out turned into a nightmare when a bolt driver allegedly assaulted a female passenger in Gauteng after he refused to start a trip when told to.
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  • Chantelle Mokau shared images of her bloody nose on Instagram after she was allegedly punched by the driver.
  • This incident happened after a night out in Bryanston.
  • She is in the process of laying a criminal charge against the driver.

A Bolt driver allegedly punched a Gauteng passenger in the face repeatedly and left her with a bloodied nose after refusing to start the trip when she asked him to do so.

Chantelle Mokau's Instagram followers were greeted with horrifying pictures of her bloodied nose after she posted images in the aftermath of the alleged attack and described how she was assaulted by a Bolt driver who picked her and her friends up after a night out.

Mokau, who goes by the stage name Leandra Vert, told News24 that she was now concerned about her career and brand.

"This man cut my face with a punch and my face is a part of my source of income and brand since I am an artist," she said.

Mokau and her three friends left Rockets Bryanston in Gauteng, on Sunday night to go to a nearby garage for a pie.

However, there was no pie at the garage and Mokau requested a Bolt to go home.

When the Bolt driver arrived, Mokau and her friends climbed into the car and Mokau said she asked the driver to take them to nearest garage closest to home in Randburg.

"Because we didn't include a stop at the garage on our Bolt trip and the ride was paid for with a card, we told him we'd give him cash on the side.

"The driver refused and told us he'd only take us straight to the location [home] we requested to," said Mokau

ALSO READ | Suspended Bolt driver accused of raping four women denied bail

Disappointed, Mokau accepted the driver's refusal and asked him to begin the trip home.

At this point, she said, things started to unravel.

"He then told us he won't start the trip when he's being told to and he will start it when he feels like it because it's his car.

"We then asked him what his problem was because at this point we needed to get home since he was one of the few drivers left outside of Rockets," said Mokau. 

According to Mokau, the driver continued to argue with them until his waiting time on the Bolt app read 00:00 and he still refused to move.

"At that point, I asked him why he accepted the ride, and when he didn't answer, he grabbed my neck and jerked me towards the window as I was seated in the front with him.

He pushed me towards the window so much I couldn't breathe. I retaliated by slapping him, which was when he punched me in the face and continued to do so until I got a cut and started bleeding.

In the Instagram post, Mokau mentioned her neck, chest and arms had been bruised after she had been picked up by bouncers who had witnessed the incident.

While Mokau claimed she was with her friends in the car, she did not say where they were at the time of the alleged attack or if they had intervened. She also said she was the only one assaulted.

According to Bolt's Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional manager, Gareth Taylor, Bolt had engaged with the driver.

READ | Terror in Cosmo City: How 3 Bolt ride requests ended in rape

"Out of an abundance of caution, he has been suspended from the platform pending the outcome of Bolt's investigations.

"Should the passenger open a case at [the] police, he will remain suspended, pending the outcome of the SAPS investigation.

"If he is found guilty after a trial, he will be permanently removed from the platform and if he is found not guilty after a trial, he will be able to use the platform again," said Taylor.

Mokau was unable to capture the Bolt driver's details because the trip was not started, she said.

Mokau said she was in the process of opening a case.

"Bolt said they are willing to help with medical assistance, however, we'll see how that goes," said Mokau.

According Taylor, Bolt's trip insurance provided cover for medical bills associated with an incident that happened on a trip.

"In this case, Bolt trip insurance will cover the medical costs up to a maximum of R50 000. We have provided details of Bolt's trip insurance to Ms Mokau and discussed with her how she can access this support."

Bolt had also offered trauma counselling.

Taylor said the driver had "strongly denied" the allegations against him.

"The incident is currently under investigation by Bolt, and any relevant information we have obtained from Ms Makau, the driver and eyewitnesses on the scene will be provided to police.

"We trust that the passenger will provide Bolt with the case number, so that the law can take its course in the form of a formal investigation," said Taylor.

Mokau said she wanted justice.

"What hurts me the most is that I've never had a hand laid on me; not by my father and not by any of my previous partners.

"I am being told to sue the company, but I honestly want this man to go to jail because I doubt it isn't the first time he's done something like this or worse," said Mokau.

Taylor said "every person has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of death or injury".

When a serious allegation is made against a driver, such as physical assault, Bolt immediately blocks the driver's account from the platform.

"If there is an emergency on a trip and the passenger activates the SOS button in the Bolt app, a private security team will reach out to them within seconds to offer help.

"We implore individuals to report such cases directly to us via the app messaging, or via southafrica@bolt.eu.

"If this process isn't followed, we lose time having to verify the person's identity (to comply with Popia and GDPR) before our safety team can be activated to deal with the incident."

According to Taylor, when victims reported an incident on social media on behalf of a friend, it was then difficult to obtain the facts swiftly.

"When an incident is reported on social media, our media team reaches out to the users in order to trace the specific journey, and to contact the passengers directly in order to escalate the matter to our safety team on an urgent basis," said Taylor

"After the passenger has opened a case, Bolt supports the investigating officer with any data possible, including all the driver, passenger, and trip details," said Taylor.


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