*Editor's note: this article has been edited with a response from Taxify*
JOHANNESBURG - KwaZulu-Natal police have accused ride-hailing service company, Taxify of being disinterested to meet with the cops to find ways to deal with crime as robbers continue to target cab drivers and passengers.
In a statement released on Thursday, police said taxi cabs and their drivers have been falling victims to carjacking and robbery in Durban, especially in Umlazi Township and surrounding areas.
Some Taxify users have also been complaining on social media about harassment by taxify drivers.
"The drivers are called to pick up a customer and then perhaps shortly requested by the same customer, to pick up another friend along the way to the original destination. Once the other passenger is picked up, a firearm is produced and the taxi driver is hi-jacked and robbed of his earnings and personal belongings," the statement read.
Police Uber and Taxify have become targets of the criminals and in some cases the robbers take the taxi and kidnap the driver.
"The EThekwini Outer South SAPS are concerned about criminal activities taking place with the Uber and Taxify taxis. Both these companies have been requested by the SAPS to work with them in order to help bring awareness to their drivers.
"However, Taxify have been reluctant to meet with police to discuss a way forward to prevent such crimes from occurring. Uber have been working with the police, by reporting these matters and holding meetings with their drivers to discuss helpful hints to keep them safe and prevent such crimes occurring on more regular basis," police said.
The authorities appealed to all Taxify drivers to contact the EThekwini Outer South Cluster Police OCC office to ensure they get invited to the next meeting by the police.
"The meeting will be held to discuss the way forward, in keeping taxi drivers safe and aware of the criminals’ common tactics, in their line of business. All taxi drivers operating under the umbrella of Taxify and Uber, are invited to attend a future meeting to help address the prevention of such crimes," police said.
Taxify spokesperson, Carly Wilken responded to the police statement saying a miscommunication has taken place between the company and the police.
Wilken stated the ride-hailing app prioritises the safety of their drivers and passengers first. She further assured customers, the Taxify Durban city manager would be attending the meeting with police.
Customers who have experienced crime while using Taxify's services, should contact the company through their website.
The company has stated they have customer support specialists who review high priority cases on a daily basis and assist passengers in reporting criminal activity to the police.