Taxi drivers in 'illegal' anti-Uber protest - TechCentral

Taxi drivers in ‘illegal’ anti-Uber protest

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A group of taxi drivers launched protest action against Internet ride sharing service Uber in Johannesburg on Friday without the necessary permission from local police.

The head of Uber for sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, said that the “illegal” protest happened earlier on Friday and that the protesters have since “come and gone”.

Lits, who is based in Uber’s Johannesburg office in Parktown North, said his team has not been at the office on Friday because of the protest.

Posts on social media emerged on Friday indicating that taxi protesters intended to move from a park in Sandton to the Uber office a few kilometers away in Parktown North.

However, spokesman for the Johannesburg Metro Police Edna Mamonyane said protesters had not received permission from authorities to launch their picketing action on public roads in the city.

“As metro police we are the custodian of the Gathering Act together with [the South African Police Service]and we don’t have anything from the metered taxis,” Mamonyane said.

“So, what we have done is send officers to go and check.

“We might have to open a case against them. We can’t let people wake up and go do anything they like,” said Mamonyane.

Mamonyane said permission for protest action on public roads is needed to ensure the likes of free flow of traffic and road diversions.

Local newspaper The Sandton Chronicle has posted a video to YouTube of the protest that outlines the metered taxi drivers’ demands.

Speaking in the video is Lucas Seale, who is the spokesperson for the Gauteng Metered Taxi Operations.

“Uber is not a very fair competitor when you come to this industry, because of their price, they’re next to nothing,” said Seale.

“It’s actually destroying the economy of the country — that’s what they are doing,” he added.

In the video, he also accused Uber of exploiting its partner drivers and not being faithful to them. He also accused Uber of prompting “black-on-black” violence.

“That happened this morning. They did go to our offices, but it’s long over now,” Lits said.

“It’s not going on at the moment,” he said. “It was an illegal protest. They had no form of approval or court documents to officially protest. So, it was an illegal gathering.

“It was an illegal gathering of taxi operators who have no affiliation to any formal taxi association in Gauteng or Johannesburg. So, they seem to be some form of splinter group and their intention was to deliver a memorandum to us. We haven’t seen that memorandum. They were peaceful, but it was an illegal protest.”

Lits further said that he welcomes engagements with the taxi drivers and ways that Uber can partner with them.

A protest against Uber was launched by metered taxi drivers in Cape Town earlier this year in January.

Uber is also discussing a clear route to licensing its drivers in Cape Town. Traffic officials in Cape Town have impounded over 200 Uber vehicles this year amid drivers not having metered taxi licences.

In Johannesburg, Uber drivers obtain chartered service licences, which are said to be less onerous to receive than metered taxi licences.  — Fin24

8 Comments

  1. Free enterprise & savings for commuters MUST be allowed to flourish peacefully. And the taxi industry must learn it does NOT rule the transport Industry. Any softening on the part of the authorities, will merely ‘play’ into their hands & create FURTHER anarchy.

  2. These barbarians do not understand freedom of choice. The governing party has allowed anarchy to manifest in virtually every facet of our society for the sake of political patronage.

  3. It’s unfortunate that FREEDOM in Africa discourse is a negative concept, as in ‘freedom FROM’ (instead of ‘freedom FOR’). It correlates with the understanding of PEACE, which refers to an ABSENCE of threat. These two understandings conspire towards a definition of a ‘free country’ as one that is utterly homogeneous, monopolistic and tribal. Everyone is the same, and there is likewise ONE leadership that become thoroughly representative.
    Within this cultural frame it is therefore very difficult, if not inconceivable, to imagine things like multiculturalism, pluralism, competition and diversity. It is perfectly logical for Lucas Seale to see a threat to his monopoly as “actually destroying the economy of the country.”
    For these and other reasons, apologists who laud UBUNTUISM as a positive, progressive and liberating concept are mistaken. Ubuntuism is a negative, conservative and limiting mindset.
    I do feel very sorry for taxi bosses and others like Seale. They live in a very frightening and confused space of threats and risks. They are quite incapable of understanding democracy as a space of contradictions to be embraced rather than resisted. They simply are not MODERN in their mentality. So they do stupid things that harm a modern democracy.

  4. So… Uber charges less.. is much more efficient…but is destroying the economy. Massive facepalm.

  5. what on earth do these taxi knobs know about uber? they cant even pronounce the bloody thing correctly!

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