Conflict between Uber partner-drivers and metered taxi owners needs to be resolved before lives are lost, says the chair of parliament’s transport portfolio committee.
Dikeledi Magadzi in a statement on Monday voiced her concerns on recent conflicts involving Uber-affiliated drivers.
Late last month, three metro police officials were injured after metered taxi drivers stoned two Uber cars and two metro police vehicles outside the Sandton Gautrain station in Johannesburg.
The Sandton attack came just days after a group of metered taxi drivers clashed with their Uber counterparts in the Johannesburg CBD.
The metered taxi drivers also tried to chase down Gauteng transport MEC Ismail Vadi after he announced the licensing of Uber partner-drivers in the province.
Magadzi, meanwhile, said that the conflict must be resolved.
“What is important is the safety of passengers,” said Magadzi.
“Any efforts geared towards improving transportation of people are a most welcome relief, especially if that comes at an affordable price and efficient service. These continued conflicts with Uber drivers should be attended to as a matter of urgency.
“The transport sector should be the safest and should be geared towards ensuring that more jobs are created and that the movement of people is seamless,” Magadzi added.
Magadzi further called on stakeholders to practise restraint amid the situation.
However, she added that her committee would not get involved on matters concerning private operations and that legislation is in place to deal with “situations that have criminal elements”.
“Law enforcement authorities should enforce the law consistently, without preference, and ensure at all times that the country is moving closer to safe and reliable transport that will link people to opportunities,” she said.
Uber’s spokespeople could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.
But regarding violence against Uber partner-drivers, the company’s head of sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits, said last month that the company is engaging with metered taxi drivers regarding recent incidents.
“We are proactively trying to engage with metered taxi associations,” said Lits at a recent media briefing in Johannesburg.
“Obviously, as a precursor to that, any violence or intimidation needs to stop before engagement can happen,” he added.