News / South Africa

Yadhana Jadoo
2 minute read
7 Dec 2017
7:10 am

Shot driver wasn’t ours – Uber Africa

Yadhana Jadoo

Uber Africa has distanced itself from the murder of a driver in Belhar, Cape Town, last week. The on-demand taxi service had said media reports that the driver was on an Uber trip were not true.

AFP/File / Britta Pedersen

Following the tragic shooting of the 29-year-old, a group of drivers arrived at Uber’s Green Light Hub in Cape Town, querying the company’s safety mechanisms for drivers. But according to reports, this resulted in a standoff after Uber called security to deal with the matter.

Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said last week Uber updated all driver-partners about “this tragic passing and let them know that it was not during an Uber trip”.

She said: “Sadly, there have been a number of incorrect and false articles in the media that stated this was on an Uber trip – even after we provided detailed information to confirm that this was not the case.

“This only goes to highlight the necessity for the media to report on facts and not create rumour and assumptions with false articles. Our thoughts continue to be with the driver’s family during this difficult time and we have reached out to offer our deepest condolences. We have also offered our support to the police during investigation.”

Despite the standoff, she said Uber “respects driver-partners as valuable partners with a voice and a choice”.

She added: “And we want driver-partners to feel they can talk to us about anything at any time. We have established channels of communication to raise these type of concerns. Our partner support team operates 24/7.

“We are always talking with partners and taking their feedback on board. We regularly host focus groups and we intend to increase the frequency of these.”

Uber recently said it hired additional private security response teams in areas such as key Gautrain stations.

“We have partnered with multiple security response services that are able to dispatch security and medical services in emergency situations in a reduced time, in an effort to improve the safety of driver-partners who use the Uber app.”

Teresa Munchick of The Movement, an organisation representing drivers, however, said although Uber said the driver was not on their app at the time he was shot, there were hundreds of drivers who landed up making drop-offs in unsafe destinations.

“If one finds oneself in a dangerous area, most drivers will go off the app while they get away from the area, or some drivers may feel tired and log off the app. This does not take away from the fact that they would not have found themselves in that situation if they had not been working on the Uber app,” Munchick said.

“Uber’s comments on drivers having a voice and a choice, is another way of saying if you don’t like it leave. Most drivers want to work on the app, they would just like a choice of having meaningful dialogue with Uber management.”

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