Uber and Taxi drivers clash in South Africa
Taxi drivers in South Africa on Thursday clashed with their colleagues driving Uber vehicles in the country’s major business district of Sandton near the Gautrain station, resulting in the destruction of three vehicles.
Police in South Africa confirmed the incident stating that the clashes involved the burning of an Uber car and two other taxis. The clashes might be related to the continuous fight between the two groups of drivers,, according to the Police.
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“All the drivers of the cars escaped unharmed. It is suspected that the incident is related to the ongoing fight between the metered taxis and the Ubers,” police spokesman Captain Mavela Masondo is quoted by Reuters. Police however are unable to tell who torched the vehicles.
Samantha Allenberg, Uber’s communications head for Africa, was also quoted by Reuters as saying that “We really need the government to do more here. The violence and intimidation is simply unacceptable.”
Officials in South Africa have struggled to find solutions to ongoing rift between Uber and taxi drivers.
South Africa National Taxi Council (Santaco) spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa has condemned the violence saying “We condemn any form of violence be it from the side of taxis or from the side of Uber drives. We cannot condone violence because the commuter will ultimately suffer.”
Molelekwa blamed “unequal competition” from Uber for sparking the violence. “Uber used to say it doesn’t matter because they are an app, but that excuse doesn’t work anymore,” he added.
Uber drivers in other parts of Africa face similar threats from taxi drivers who accuse Uber of charging cheap rates to collapse their business.
Uber operates in more than 600 cities and has faced protests in France, Brazil and Hungary.