Uber launches petition against government's inaction

Uber launches petition against government's inaction

Popular taxi app service Uber has launched a petition following the spate of attacks on its driver-partners.

uber attack
Laila Majiet

Four vehicles had been targeted in the Sandton CBD on Thursday evening.

An Uber and Taxify vehicle were petrol-bombed.

A third vehicle believed to belong to a metre taxi driver was also torched.

A fourth vehicle's windscreen had been damaged.

It comes amid the ongoing violence between metred taxi and taxi app drivers.

Uber South Africa accuses government of failing to take firm action against the criminals who are behind the recent attacks. 

The company is now calling on South Africans to sign its petition.

"Uber calls on South Africans to come together to sign the petition in order to tell transport minister Joe Maswanganyi and police minister Fikile Mbalula that they need to work for the citizens of this country and ensure Uber driver-partners can continue to earn a living without fear, and consumers can choose how and with whom they travel."

General Manager for Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits says:  "We are extremely disappointed that this violence against Uber driver-partners continues and that policy makers and regulators are blaming this violent behaviour on a 'turf war'."

He says despite ongoing discussions with regulators and policymakers - most recently with the police ministry on 27 July - there has been over 200 recorded incidents against driver-partners, and still no meaningful intervention or arrests have been made.  

Uber South Africa says thousands of driver-partners choose to use the Uber app to connect with their passengers in order to provide transport services because they are completely free to choose if, when and where they drive, with no shifts or minimum hours.  

"They want to exercise their freedom to do their jobs and earn a living for their family, without fear of intimidation and violence by some metered taxi operators. However, the authorities and regulators whose responsibility is to protect the citizens of this country and their consumer choice, have not taken sufficient action, and the violence against drivers choosing progress and technology apps such as Uber continues unabated."

Lits says the company's hands are tied and that it cannot and should not replace law enforcement's mandate to protect its citizens.

"We are doing all we can to assist in preventing incidents and provide support to driver-partners and riders. We spend millions of rands on private security for driver-partners, but the fact is, we cannot and we should not replace law enforcement's mandate to protect our citizens. Government and police need to step in and take a much stronger stand to end this violence and intimidation against those bringing progress and choice in the industry," Lits adds.

Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo explains what transpired in Sandton on Thursday.

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