Ministers appeal for calm in Uber, metered taxi dispute

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An Uber vehicle was reportedly set alight by angry meter taxi operators on Thursday, 30 March 2017

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi on Thursday appealed for calm in the dispute between metered taxis and Uber.

The appeal for calm was issued after Mbalula and Maswanganyi met on Wednesday and discussed the increasing violent attacks involving the metered taxi operators and e-hailing operators such as Uber.

“The ministers appealed for calm whilst government is finalising the National Land Transport Act amendment Bill which is currently before parliament. The Amendment Bill will include e-hailing public transport services,” said the joint statement issued by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on behalf of the transport and police departments

The statement said the ministers also emphasised the provision of the National Land Transport Act on the Regulation of road-based public transport.

The ministers said the Act stated that no person may operate a road-based public transport service, unless he or she is the holder of an operating licence or a permit, subject to sections 47, 48 and 49 of this Act.

READ: Uber slams intimidation of its drivers

“This regulation therefore means that any operator who operates a public transport service without an Operating Licence will be violating the law and Law Enforcement Officers will act on such an operator.”

On Monday, an Uber driver who had been in ICU for several weeks, died after suffering serious burn wounds when his car was set alight, allegedly by metered taxi operators.

Mbalula and Maswanganyi strongly warned the affected parties to immediately cease acts of intimidation and disorder that has engulfed the industry. 

“Following this meeting, the law enforcement agencies will be deployed in all the identified hotspots and perpetrators of violence and intimidation will be arrested.

"The ministers also appealed to the affected parties to stop any public spats that fuel and prolong the tension,” read the statement.