Uber, meter taxis accuse one another of intimidation tactics
Pretoria - Meter taxi drivers and Uber drivers have levelled allegations of intimidation against one another as the recent clash between them intensifies.
The Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Council has alleged that they were informed that Uber drivers were using various intimidation tactics such as the pointing of a firearm at one of their members and driving very slowly in a convoy passed taxi ranks.
The council’s General-Secretary Hendrick Ndou claimed that a convoy of more than 30 Uber vehicles drove around Pretoria on Monday, intimidating meter taxi drivers at Pretoria station as well as at Sunnyside and Hatfield Gautrain station.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubela confirmed to News24 that a case had been opened, where the complainant, a meter taxi driver had reported that an Uber driver had pointed a firearm at him.
"I think they had bad intentions,” said Ndou.
“They start driving slowly when they reach the ranks. The known fact is that we are not on good terms with the Ubers. Now if you find them coming towards your rank with a convoy, definitely you know that they can’t be coming in a good way because we are not friends.”
Ndou said the council condemns violence and intimidation of any kind but that it was clear that groups within both Uber and the meter taxis were at war with one another.
Meanwhile Uber South Africa has also alleged that their drivers and clients have been intimidated at Gautrain Stations.
Uber SA spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said they had private security on site and had been managing the situation as best as possible.
“Using violence and intimidation to limit consumer choice is unacceptable to us, to anyone for that matter,” 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."
Allenberg said while they understood that their "driver-partners" were frustrated, they had a zero tolerance approach to any form of retaliation or violence.
Both Uber and the Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Council were seeking meetings and intervention from different arms of government.
Earlier on Monday, Uber said one of their “driver-partners” died from injuries he sustained during an attack near Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria on June 10.
Makhubela confirmed the death and said a case of attempted murder had been changed to murder. No arrests have yet been made.
Several Uber vehicles and meter taxi vehicles have been stoned, petrol bombed or set alight in recent months.