NEWS

No-Go Zones Declared As Attacks On Uber Drivers Intensifies

This follows the death of an Uber driver who's vehicle was petrol bombed a month ago.

18/07/2017 06:25 SAST | Updated 18/07/2017 06:25 SAST
AARON TAM via Getty Images
A sign with an Uber logo is seen in the smartphone ride-hailing giant's office in Hong Kong on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Aaron TAM (Photo credit should read AARON TAM/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 15 places in Johannesburg have been declared no-go zones for Uber drivers, as violence against Uber drivers by meter cab drivers intensifies in the city, The Star reported on Tuesday.

On Monday, Uber South Africa reportedly sought an urgent meeting with the ministers of police and transport in an effort to stop the violence. The police promised to intensify efforts to resolve the situation.

This follows the death of Uber driver Lindelani Mashau, who died of burn wounds on Monday after his car was set alight, allegedly by a metered-taxi driver. His car was reportedly petrol-bombed near Loftus stadium in Pretoria a month ago.

The Uber Drivers Movement has warned passengers against ordering Ubers in several locations across the city, where attacks on drivers are routine, according to The Star.

Tessa Munchick, co-founder of the movement, told The Star that attacks were now almost a daily occurrence.

"There are very specific no-go zones like the Summit Club in Hillbrow, Royal Park in Joubert Park, and the CBD (specifically around the Carlton Centre) is bad. All Gautrain stations (Park Station, Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Centurion, Hatfield and Pretoria) are also dangerous. Trouble flares up intermittently, but at Park Station there is always trouble. Unfortunately, the malls have also become targeted, Eastgate, Mall of Africa and Southgate have had some reports of violence," Munchick told The Star.

She warned that it was not a good idea to order an Uber in an area where there were a lot of metered cabs.

But metered cab drivers maintain that they are the victims in the situation for losing their business to Uber.

Gauteng Meter Taxi Council spokesperson Hendrick Ndou told The Star that all the blame could not be placed on the metered taxi drivers.

"It's a clash between two groups. Our story can't change. Our concern is that these people cannot use their private vehicles as public transport without having permits. Violence is something which is not needed. But we find ourselves in a case where we need the government through law enforcement to protect us and our industry. The law enforcers are nowhere to be found. It has been proved that these law enforcers have cars in the Uber platform. That's why now, at the end of the day, we (metered taxis) face this ill-treatment," he said.

Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg told The Star that the company was doing all it could to prevent attacks.

"We cannot do this alone. Authorities and policy makers need to take a stronger stand to help prevent and condemn these terrible crimes," she said.