EDINBURGH — Taxi drivers around the globe have protested against Uber, arguing that the sharing economy model is not legal and is cannibalising domestic revenue streams. In South Africa, the animosity between taxi drivers and Uber participants, which has spread to local competitor Taxify, has taken an ugly twist. Anti-Uber violence was perhaps inevitable, if unacceptable, in an environment in which taxis are an enormous employment provider to the poor and semi-skilled. For owner-operators, some routes can be lucrative. Brutal taxi wars have long been a feature of the South African taxi industry. Ride sharing users enter this contested terrain at their peril. – Jackie Cameron
Dramatic video footage has emerged of a recent attack on an Uber vehicle in Pretoria. (WATCH) pic.twitter.com/3c63hSB4Jr
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) June 26, 2017
A short video of a violent attack on two Uber drivers, which has turned out to be a Taxify car according to the CICA – Crime Intelligence & Community Awareness, has spread rapidly across South African social media channels.
The vehicle in the video was set alight and two drivers attacked on the streets of Sunnyside in Pretoria earlier in June, reports News24 motoring outlet Wheels.
Police Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the two drivers were assaulted by unknown suspects.
He told News24: “One of the drivers was immediately taken to hospital. Police have opened a case of malicious damage to property and assault.”
— MzwaZizo (@Mzwa_T) March 10, 2017
“Footage has emerged of the incident showing the car being torched while reversing down a road in Sunnyside. The clip show a police van moving out of the path of the careering vehicle.”
Anti-Uber protests have hit the headlines elsewhere in the world. Earlier this month, taxi drivers in Zagreb, Croatia, blocked roads in protest against the fee-saving, car-sharing service.
Polish taxi drivers have also been protesting against the unlicensed transport providers.
Earlier this month Police Minister Fikile Mbalula appealed for a truce between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers.
Another Uber vehicle attacked in Pretoria (Sunnyside) pic.twitter.com/e9B7OlHSgP
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) June 21, 2017
“As Meter Taxi owners march in demand of their economic freedom, they must do so within the ambits of the law. We are hopeful that what we saw previously will not be repeated as it violated other people’s rights to move freely and attempted to cause economic standstill,” he said in a statement.
“South Africa is not a Banana Republic,” said Mbalula. ”Only in a country that does not have laws people will think it is normal to petrol-bomb people’s cars, shoot them and physically attack them, without any response from police.
“The police will be on duty to protect the rights of South Africans and to maintain law and order. Economic sabotage will not be tolerated no matter how people feel strongly about their grievances. Freeways are a critical component of our economy.
“Both the meter taxi owners and Uber owners must sit down and agree on how they must work together without bloodshed,” said Mbalula, according to News24.