Pretoria metered taxi drivers appear to be extorting money from Uber and Taxify drivers under the pretence of fining them for transporting passengers without meter taxi permits.
After The Citizen published two reports of meter taxi drivers allegedly attacking e-hailing service drivers, threatening them and robbing them of money at the Pretoria station on Bosman and Scheiding Street in the past week, Gauteng Metered Taxi Council general secretary Hendrick Ndou disputed the allegations.
Ndou claimed meter taxi drivers weren’t robbing e-hailing service drivers, but simply ensuring they operated using the correct permits. The council and drivers “took it upon themselves” to fine e-hailing drivers and to question their business.
He said they charged a hefty R1 500 fine, which they kept as an organisation.
On Friday, a meter taxi driver was stabbed and killed after he allegedly hijacked an e-hailing service driver and forced him to withdraw R4 000.
“When they [Uber/Taxify] get to Pretoria station, our guys check if they are compliant and have stickers. Our operator cards show if the vehicle is transporting people as a business car. This is what happened on Friday. The guy was instead killed.
“When our guys find you operating without documents, we take you to other meter taxi drivers at the holding bay to explain yourself.
“We then fine those not complying.
“They withdraw the money and pay, but immediately after voluntarily paying, they go to police stations saying they were robbed.”
Tshwane MMC of transport Sheila Senkubuge, confirmed that metre taxi drivers “had no right on any level” to be extorting money from e-hailing service drivers, as it was only the Gauteng department of roads and transport that regulated and issued taxi permits.
“This group that says they are collecting money don’t have the mandate to do that. They are breaking the law,” she said.
“The only people able to get involved in permits and licensing is the provincial department of roads and transport.”
Melitha Madiba, spokesperson for the Gauteng department of transport, confirmed that the taxi operators were violating the law and said after speaking to her colleagues at the licensing department, it was suggested that the matter be forwarded to the community safety department, as it is a law enforcement issue.
Four meter taxi drivers are expected to appear before the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court this week for a bail application on charges of kidnapping and robbery.
Vincent Mashalane, Justice Magagane, Pethole Mabulana and Frans Nijana, believed to be meter taxi drivers and a marshal, allegedly blocked a Taxify driver on his way to pick up clients at the Pretoria station.
They allegedly forced themselves into the victim’s car and demanded and threatened him to pay them.