News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
21 Jul 2017
6:20 am

Uber pleased with new transport bill

Yadhana Jadoo

Movement hopes regulation of ride-hailing services will end violence against operators.

Police officers stand near the remains of a burnt out uber car on University road near the University of Pretoria, by standers claim the car was burnt by metered taxi drivers, 4 July 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Both Uber Africa and its drivers are pleased about the commitment towards the National Land Transport Act Amendment Bill, which seeks to ensure the industry is regulated.

According to a mobilisation of drivers called The Movement, this would go some way in easing the tension between Uber and the metered taxi industry, where a number of the on-demand service’s drivers have been brazenly attacked. One recently lost his life.

“The Movement is relieved that the minister of police and the minister of transport have acknowledged the seriousness of the situation,” the organisation’s Teresa Munchick said.

“We hope this will go some way in easing the tension and particularly bring a halt to the violent acts that have been unfurling during this particularly intense period.

“No person on either side should be burned or beaten or lose their life over a permit. As this has been stated as the issue and cause of outrage from the metered taxis, we hope to see a cessation of the violence forthwith.”

Uber’s Samantha Allenberg said Uber has always been prosmart regulation.

“That is why we have been engaging with policymakers on a route to licensing for driver-partners, using technology apps, since we launched in South Africa.”

In a joint statement, the transport and police departments said a discussion on the recent violent attacks, particularly in Gauteng, were held on Wednesday.

“The ministers appealed for calm, while government is finalising the National Land Transport Act Amendment Bill,” according to the statement.

Law enforcement agencies will be deployed in hot spots and perpetrators of violence and intimidation will be arrested, it said.

Justice Project SA chairperson Howard Dembovsky said once drivers are in possession of an operating licence, they would also have to be in possession of a professional driving permit (PrDP).

“This said, the violence which has arisen out of this conflict between metered taxi operators who do comply with legislation and Uber drivers who don’t is unjustifiable and misdirected. So is the nonsensical notion that Uber fares must be regulated.” – yadhanaj@citizen.co.za