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Bolt commends SAPS for conviction of ex-driver

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 20 Mar 2024
Bolt says it has a zero-tolerance policy.
Bolt says it has a zero-tolerance policy.

Bolt has commended the diligent efforts of the South African Police Service and the justice system in securing the conviction of ex-Bolt driver Emmanuel Mudau for his “abhorrent” crimes.

The High Court in Johannesburg recently sentenced 30-year-old Mudau to two life imprisonment terms, plus 60 years, on four counts of rape, four of kidnapping and two of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The crimes were committed in January and February 2022, during his time as a driver partner of the e-hailing firm in Gauteng, when he targeted female Bolt riders who had sent a ride request via the Bolt app, according to the National Prosecuting Authority.

In a statement, Bolt says it has a zero-tolerance policy towards drivers who engage in misconduct or criminal behaviour.

“Throughout the investigation, Bolt cooperated fully with law enforcement authorities, providing all necessary information and assistance to aid in the successful arrest and prosecution of the suspect,” says a Bolt spokesperson.

“The safety and well-being of our community are of utmost importance to Bolt. We unequivocally condemn any form of abuse or violence against women, unwavering in our belief that every person has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion.”

For several years, South African women have been sharing their experiences of alleged sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of e-hailing drivers, during a trip.

As a result, many people have been calling for e-hailing services to make women’s safety their first priority.

ITWeb previously reported on the rape incident, after the former driver was arrested and charged.

An online petition was set up and signed by over 100 000 people accusing some drivers of the e-hailing firm of sexual harassment.

The petition urged Bolt to verify and vet its drivers more efficiently during the on-boarding process, so that accountability and transparency are encouraged.

In the statement, Bolt says its platform has no place for individuals who perpetrate such heinous acts.

“We extend our support to the victims and their families. In our ongoing efforts to enhance rider safety, Bolt has implemented various new safety features designed to provide additional peace of mind and security.”

Recently added in-app safety features include:

  • A partnership with the Automobile Association allowing drivers and riders to access a 24/7 emergency response service integrated into the app.
  • Drivers and riders can now initiate an audio recording of their trip within the Bolt app.
  • Through the trip monitoring feature, Bolt will now have the ability to automatically engage with riders and drivers in-app when a vehicle remains stationary for too long to confirm that everything is okay.

A driver selfie verification feature to increase passenger safety by combating driver impersonation. The driver’s selfie is matched against the Department of Home Affairs database to ensure the right driver is behind the wheel.