Uber asks SA police for help amid rising taxi violence

Uber has condemned the intimidation against driver-partners and riders at the Gautrain Stations across Gauteng and formally asked the the Police Minister and the Minister of Transport to resolve the situation.

In a press statement released by the company on Monday, it confirmed it had private security on site monitoring and managing the situation as best as possible, to ensure reliable pickup and drops off.

“While we continue to provide you with statements and interviews around these issues, many of your questions can and should be directed to those whose responsibility it is to ensure people can move around their cities; safely and reliably and without limitation,” it said.

“We can only ask that you contact the Department of Transport and Minister of Police to ask for their commit on how they intend to solve these issue, as they are the only ones who can move this forward.”

It said that in the time being it would continue to provide additional security measures around the stations, but noted that Uber was “not a security company” and needed law enforcement and the police minister to get involved and help solve the issue as soon as possible.

Any situation where safety is put at risk is absolutely unacceptable to us, said Samantha Allenberg, Uber Africa Spokesperson

“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.”

She noted that drivers using the Uber app have access to a 24/7 local emergency line to use in the event they feel unsafe. The company 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,” said Allenberg.

“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.”

Death

In a follow-up statement on Monday, Uber confirmed that one of its driver-partners has passed away after a brutal attack in Pretoria on the weekend of 10 June 2017.

According to a seperate press release sent out by the company, 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.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic news,” said Allenberg.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with his family during this difficult time and we will continue to offer our support.We are assisting the police in their investigation in every way possible.“


Read: Uber drivers are now considered employees in South Africa – here’s what it means

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