Suspended Bolt driver accused of rape might be linked to other cases with same modus operandi - cops

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A suspended Bolt driver accused of rape might be linked to other cases.
A suspended Bolt driver accused of rape might be linked to other cases.
  • A suspended Bolt driver accused of rape may have other cases of rape linked to him.
  • The driver returns to the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
  • An online petition against Bolt for not verifying drivers has over 100 000 signatures and counting.

The suspended Bolt driver accused of rape might be linked to other cases of rape where the modus operandi is the same, Gauteng police revealed on Monday.

"A case of rape was opened at Douglasdale Police Station on 24 February 2022. The matter was referred to [the] Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit for further investigation," Lieutenant- Colonel Mavele Masondo told News24. According to police, the investigating officer went on a manhunt for the suspect. 

The suspect was arrested at Kyasands Informal Settlement on Saturday, 26 February 2022. He made his first appearance in the Randburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, 1 March 2022, and his case was postponed to Tuesday, 8 March 2022.

His name is known to News24, but cannot be published as he has not yet pleaded.

"The suspect might be linked to other cases of rape where the modus operandi is the same," Masondo added.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that the matter returns to court on Tuesday.

"He is charged with kidnapping, [two counts of] rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and attempted murder," she told News24 on Monday.

Bolt has since suspended the driver from the e-hailing platform.

News24 reported that Bolt's regional manager for SADC, Gareth Taylor, said in a previous statement: "The implicated driver has been suspended from the platform and will only be reinstated if he is fully exonerated by the SAPS."

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

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

This led to several other personal accounts of incidents at the alleged hands of Bolt drivers, with many users urging members of the public, especially women, to delete the e-hailing app in the interests of their safety.

On Monday afternoon, Bolt South Africa confirmed to News24 that the suspect was a registered driver on the e-hailing app.

"Bolt had [sic] considered the driver's profile, and there has been no similar complaints or referrals by passengers regarding this driver," Taylor said.

An online petition was recently launched against Bolt South Africa for not vetting/verifying its drivers and has garnered over 100 000 signatures and counting.

Taylor said they were aware of the online petition adding that tough feedback from people is extremely valuable to the service.

"If the people of South Africa didn't care about our platform, they would simply stop using us. Instead, more than 100 000 people have taken time out of their days to ask us to improve.

"To the more than 100 000 South Africans that have signed this petition, thank you for taking the time to let us know that you'd rather we improved than cease to be around," Taylor said.

The suspect remains suspended from the platform following the allegations, and he will remain unable to use the platform unless he is found not guilty of the incident in question. 

"Bolt condemns any form of violence and takes accusations of sexual harassment directed towards e-hailing passengers very seriously, unwavering in our belief that every person has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of death or injury," Taylor concluded.

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