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The two women were heading to get a tattoo when their driver started behaving strangely – Image via Instagram: @Bolt_SA

Anele Mdoda, SA celebs bash Bolt following rape claims against driver

‘We have made trauma counselling available’: e-hailing service Bolt has confirmed a rape case has been opened against one of its drivers.

bolt kidnap kidnapping

The two women were heading to get a tattoo when their driver started behaving strangely – Image via Instagram: @Bolt_SA

On Friday 25 January, a social media user shared a photo of a Bolt driver who allegedly raped her friend. In her post, she pleaded with social media users to look out for the man so he could be brought to justice.

The post sparked a massive outrage from social media users who discussed what they label as the e-hailing company’s “bad reputation” and “lack of accountability”.

Bolt has since confirmed the incident in a statement, detailing that the driver in question is currently suspended and under investigation by the Honeydew Police Station where a case was opened against him.

Alleged rape by Bolt driver causes nationwide outrage

Local celebrities — such as Anele Mdoda, Tebogo Lerole and Omuhle Gela — have taken to social media to slam e-hailing company Bolt. Their criticism comes after a woman accused a driver of raping and almost killing her friend.

Taking to Twitter on Friday 25 February, a young South African Twitter user with the handle @Luluthebearr wrote:

“A Bolt driver raped my friend last night. He strangled her half to death and took her virginity. Bolt doesn’t care about our safety. Their Instagram page is filled with people complaining about assault and they have done nothing about it.”

According to the friend, who chose not to be named, the driver picked her up from a gym. She claims that when the trip ended, he asked her to accompany him to a local petrol garage. She became suspicious when he drove past the garage.

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He then apparently demanded her phone when she tried calling someone for help. Afterwards, she claims that they got into a fight before she managed to get out of the car.

He allegedly ran after her and threatened to kill her if she didn’t listen to him and so she got back into the car with him and he proceeded to allegedly rape and strangle her.

Celebs use their influence

The post was met with outrage from local Twitter users and South African celebrities who slammed the company, saying it does not seem to screen prospective drivers before hiring them.

A number of them called on people to stop using the app completely because it is not safe – especially for young women. According to TimesLIVE, many people have recounted similar terrifying instances where they or a friend were assaulted, robbed, or verbally abused by Bolt drivers.

Actor Kay Sibiya was one of many who shared his thoughts on the matter:

“Enough is enough now @bolt_southafrica our women, sisters, friends are getting raped what the actual F* 🤷🏽‍♂️ What is the screening process? Why are drives registered with different vehicles on the app and rock up in other cars? Why do they have different numbers than the ones in the app?

“Someone knows this man fellow cab drivers, neighbours, friends, etc we want justice!!! Also, we need to cancel 🚫❌⛔️@bolt_southafrica every other day a woman is sexually harassed/abused or assaulted by one of your drivers,” he wrote in an Instagram post on Friday.

Radio personality Anele Mdoda echoed his thoughts and wrote on Twitter that she wanted to interview the CEO of Bolt on her 94.7 breakfast show.

On Sunday 27 February, Kay once again headed to Instagram to share that the alleged rapist was apprehended.

Meanwhile, South Africans across the country have vowed to stop using the driving service until the company takes the proper measures to make it safer.

Bolt speaks out

Bolt has since confirmed the incident in an exclusive statement wherein they also shared that they have offered to pay for the young woman’s counselling following the traumatic experience.

They also added that a case has been opened at Honeydew Police Station and the matter is currently under investigation. The alleged rapist has also been suspended from driving with immediate effect.

“Bolt condemns any form of sexual harassment or violence of any kind directed towards e-hailing passengers because it believes that every South African has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of harassment, injury, or death.

“Bolt is aware of the incident in which a young woman suffered a terribly traumatic experience in Cosmo City. We have engaged with her several times, and we are fully cooperating with the Honeydew Police Station in their investigation into the incident, as this is where she has opened a case. We have been in touch with her several times, and have made trauma counselling available to her. 

“We have also engaged with the driver implicated in this incident. He has been detained by SAPS for further questioning, although no charges have yet been laid against him.

“As is the case when any driver is the subject of a SAPS investigation, the driver’s access to the platform has been removed pending the outcome of SAPS inquiries. He will only be permitted to use the platform again if he is exonerated by the SAPS,” reads the statement from Gareth Taylor, Bolt regional manager for SADC.

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