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Ministers look to resolve Uber, meter taxi drivers impasse

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Uber says driver-partners and riders are being intimidated at Gautrain stations across Gauteng.
Uber says driver-partners and riders are being intimidated at Gautrain stations across Gauteng.

Transport Joe Maswanganyi has denounced the recent spate of violent attacks involving Meter Taxi Association and Uber drivers.

"This kind of behaviour which breeds intimidation and anarchy stands condemned and should not be allowed in our public transport system and our country in general," he says.

Yesterday, Uber confirmed that one of its driver-partners had passed away after a brutal attack in Pretoria on the weekend of 10 June. The driver was attacked by a small group of unknown individuals and his car was set alight while he was in the vehicle, leading to him sustaining serious injuries, according to Uber.

Uber also noted its driver-partners and riders are being subjected to intimidation at the Gautrain stations across Gauteng.

In a statement, Maswanganyi says he will soon be meeting the SA Meter Taxi Association as well as Uber management to deal with this debacle.

"As government, we will also work with all the ministers in the security cluster as well as other relevant government departments to have a multi-pronged approach in dealing with this debacle."

Meanwhile, police minister Fikile Mbalula reportedly met with Uber today to address the ongoing feud between drivers of the e-hailing taxi service and metered taxis.

The meeting follows an urgent request by Uber to meet with the police minister and the minister of transport to resolve this situation.

In a statement, Uber Africa spokesperson Samantha Allenberg says: "Any situation where safety is put at risk is absolutely unacceptable to us.

"That a few metered taxi operators are choosing violence and threats against those bringing choice in transportation is unacceptable. Violence only underlines why people are increasingly choosing safe, reliable alternatives like Uber."

Allenberg adds: "Drivers using the Uber app have access to a 24/7 local emergency line to use in the event they feel unsafe. We have also recently partnered with multiple security response services that are able to dispatch security and medical services in emergency situations. We have also hired additional security response teams in areas where our driver-partners and riders have reported intimidation.

"We are doing all we can to assist in preventing incidents and provide assistance to driver-partners and riders, but we cannot do this alone - authorities and policy makers need to take a stronger stand to help prevent and condemn these terrible crimes."

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