Uber, metered taxi violence: special task force set up


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

JOHANNESBURG - Uber and metered taxi operators will now have to get permits to operate in Gauteng.

This is aimed at reducing the increasing violence between the warring groups, which has killed at least one person. 

A special task force will also be established to tackle violence between metered taxis and tech companies like Uber and Taxify. Metered taxis want Uber banned, arguing the ride-sharing app is operating illegally and taking away its business.

The Gauteng government has admitted the violence reached shocking levels, but officials said it will not ban Uber or any other operator. 

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Since January, there have been a total of about 300 attacks in Gauteng: 204 incidents occurred in Tshwane, 86 in Johannesburg, and four in Ekurhuleni. 

About 116 cases have been opened with police and 28 people were arrested. 

During a briefing held on Sunday, Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced a special provincial cabinet committee and task force - comprising law-enforcement agencies and intelligence services - will now deal with the matter. 

“If this matter is allowed to continue we would have a situation where people are recruited to carry out hits, especially recruiting those who carry out political killings. We don’t want hired assassins. One life has already been lost.” 

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Officials believe having records of every public transport operator in the province can assist in tackling the problem.

“We want Uber and metered taxis and everyone else who operates in the public transport space to be registered with us. Already we have seen 2,300 Uber operators making applications to us,” said Makhura.

Around 600 Uber operators have already received their permits while 500 metered taxi drivers received theirs. 

Authorities said they will also probe claims that during some attacks law enforcement officials did not act when they witnessed the violence. 

“Where police have been involved in not assisting Uber drivers when they are being attacked we will definitely attack against those,” said Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.