Violence erupts between taxi and Uber drivers in Johannesburg – The Guardian

Police have been deployed to websites in Johannesburg to quell rising violence between Uber drivers and metered taxi operators.

Two automobiles operated by Uber drivers have been torched on Thursday night time outdoors a shopping center in the upmarket suburb of Sandton in the newest spherical of clashes in South Africa’s business capital. A metered taxi was reportedly attacked early on Friday morning.

A police spokesperson said the deployment of public order forces was aimed to safeguard commuters. Sandton is a transport and enterprise hub in addition to a business centre.

There have been periodic clashes between Uber drivers and metered taxi drivers across South Africa because the experience-hailing app was launched in the nation 4 years in the past.

In June an Uber driver died after sustaining critical burns when his automotive was set alight by a gaggle of males believed to be taxi drivers.

Jonathan Ayache, Uber’s common supervisor in South Africa, stated the newest violence was “completely unacceptable” .

“I can’t imagine how frustrated Uber drivers must be at the moment … It’s been consistent violence against them for months and all that they want to do is earn an income to provide for their families without fear of violence and intimidation … But any form of retaliation is unacceptable and it’s against our company guidelines,” he told native reporters.

Joe Maswanganyi, the transport minister, stated perpetrators of violence and intimidation can be handled “in terms of the applicable laws”.

Uber has expanded quickly in Johannesburg, a sprawling city the place there’s large demand for handy, low cost and dependable transport. Metered taxis are costly, troublesome to seek out and not all the time correctly maintained.

Uber has attracted greater than 500,000 customers and four,000 drivers throughout South Africa since its 2013 launch. The service has unfold to 14 African cities throughout eight nations.

Uber has triggered protests throughout the globe, together with in London, Hungary and Delhi, because it upends conventional enterprise fashions that require skilled drivers to pay typically costly licensing charges.

In February, clashes erupted at a taxi drivers’ protest in Rome, whereas in France final yr police fired teargas at hanging taxi drivers in an effort to take care of order. There was additionally violence at demonstrations in Mexico and Indonesia.

In March taxi drivers blocked roads to Johannesburg’s airport, holding up hundreds of travellers.

“Uber is illegal,” Reuben Mzayiya, a spokesman for the metered taxi enterprise in Gauteng province, stated after the protest.

“If you want to operate, you must register with the department of transport and fulfil all the requirements. Uber doesn’t do all those things. It just operates a parallel structure with a fraction of what we are charging.”

Uber in South Africa has employed safety companies to answer calls from drivers dealing with assaults and employed further safety groups in areas the place intimidation has been reported.

The firm has been hit by repeated controversies, together with allegations of sexual harassment, underpaying drivers, and false promoting. Travis Kalanick, its CEO, was just lately pressured to step down.

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