Why being an Uber driver is one of the toughest jobs in South Africa

Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe

Metered taxi drivers in Tshwane claim ‘EFF members’ are assaulting them

Tshwane drivers are living in fear of harassment and extortion

Why being an Uber driver is one of the toughest jobs in South Africa

Gallo Images / The Times / Moeletsi Mabe

The drivers of metered taxis say they are being harassed and beaten by men in EFF clothing who claim to represent the group.

A former member of the Tshwane Meter Taxi Council has alleged that he was assaulted back in May by a so-called ‘EFF member’ in a dispute over how the industry should deal with Uber.

Uber is a technology company connecting riders with drivers, through a smartphone app. Though they aren’t technically a taxi or transportation company, they do undertake the same work and business clientele as metered drivers, at a lower cost.

Uber driver attacks

The anonymous driver’s claims are supported by CCTV footage that captures three men in red hoodies and hats aggressively communicating with taxi drivers at their rank on Robert Sobukwe Street. Uber drivers have also been subject to harassment and intimidation.

The source also claimed that the group were trying to extort drivers in a bid to ‘banish’ Uber from working in the area, and implicated EFF Chairperson Dali Mpofu:

“They have been collecting R400 from each meter taxi driver, claiming they need to raise R400 000 to pay Advocate Dali Mpofu, who ‘will help them get rid of Uber’. They claim they have already paid Mpofu R100 000.”

Read: Transport Minister confirms Uber are set to face major restrictions in SA

Of course, Dali has been extremely quick to distance himself from these comments and maintained he would not entertain such ‘nonsense’, let alone accept money for it:

“They are just taking advantage of people’s ignorance. I am not involved at all. They are just abusing my name and that of the party. This is obviously a scam. They must not give them any money.”

Taxis in Gauteng

It is said that the men who identify as EFF members turn violent on the drivers who do not wish to partake in whatever it is they are trying to achieve.

Tshwane drivers are advised to report any further suspicious activity to the police, and to refuse any part in what these criminals are proposing.