Uber South Africa has signed a deal with armed response company, Hi-Risk, following continued violent clashes with metered taxi drivers.
According to a report by cnet, the security company confirmed via email that it was working with Uber to protect drivers and passengers around South Africa, but because of a non-disclosure agreement it signed with the company, it couldn’t provide further information.
Speaking to Uber drivers at Johannesburg station, cnet reported that the guards are apparently armed, although no weapons are readily visible.
The report said that Uber has also provided drivers with an emergency hotline to call if they feel unsafe, and the company is working with multiple response services able to dispatch security and medical teams in emergency situations.
Uber declared 15 pick-up areas across Gauteng as no-go zones for picking up and dropping off due to the ongoing clashes between metered-taxi operators and Uber drivers in July.
Notably, these include the Summit Club in Hillbrow, Royal Park in Joubert Park, and the CBD (specifically around the Carlton Centre).
In addition, Gautrain stations (Park Station, Rosebank, Sandton, Marlboro, Centurion, Hatfield and Pretoria) as well as several malls (Eastgate, Mall of Africa and Southgate) have also reportedly been targeted.
The continuing violence culminated in the death of one of Uber’s driver-partners passed away earlier this year.
At the time, Samantha Allenberg, Uber Africa Spokesperson called for direct police and department of transport intervention.