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Compiled by Gareth Cotterell

Digital Editor

Kunene says minibus taxis not to blame for attack on e-hailing cabs at Maponya Mall

Transport MMC Kenny Kunene said illegal e-hailing operators at Maponya Mall are a problem.

The City of Johannesburg’s Transport MMC Kenny Kunene said that taxi drivers were not behind the attack on e-hailing cabs at Maponya Mall on Thursday night.

Kunene made these claims at the Kliptown Police Station, where representatives of the Soweto United E-hailing Association, Soweto Taxi Services and other transport organisations had met.

Minibus taxi drivers deny responsibility

Following the attacks at the mall, there were allegations that minibus taxi drivers were behind the attacks. Soweto Taxi Services, a group representing minibus taxi drivers in the area, reportedly assured Kunene that they were not responsible.

“[Soweto Taxi Services] has committed that they have not been part of this, they have fought mall destruction during that time and they have operated with e-hailing [drivers] for a long time,” said Kunene.

Watch: e-Hailing cabs torched in Soweto

The transport MMC also said that one of the e-hailing drivers that was attacked said the assailants did not claim to be from a taxi association.  

“One of the victims whose car was burned told us in the meeting that when he was attacked, there was no mention of any taxi association,” he said.

ALSO READ: Gauteng transport MEC condemns attacks on e-hailing drivers

Unregistered drivers a ‘problem’

Kunene said there is a problem with unregistered drivers operating at Maponya Mall, which could be a reason for the attacks.

“We have also been informed about the so-called amaphela, which in English means cockroach’, who are the illegal operators that pretend to be e-hailers.

“They will come here to the mall and entice people with their half-price [fares] to ride with them. That is another big problem that we are experiencing here in Soweto.”

Maponya Mall to beef up security

Kunene also said that Maponya Mall will increase its security with technology after the attacks.

“They are also going to beef up their security, especially across the entrance lines because that’s where these guys drop people. They are also going to invest in an AI [Artificial Intelligence] system, they are going to put in more cameras that will have number plate identification and facial identification.”

The mall will also ensure that the night shift security teams are on duty immediately after the day shift teams knock off.

NOW READ: Maponya Mall attack: ‘We can’t allow ordinary people to become victims,’ says Nhlanhla Lux

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