Uber slams intimidation of its drivers

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

JOHANNESBURG - Uber says the intimidation of its drivers is totally unacceptable.

“People should have the right to choose how they move around our cities, and that’s being compromised," said Alon Lits, Uber's general manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.

An Uber driver died this week from burns sustained when his vehicle was set alight, allegedly by drivers of metered taxis, in Pretoria five weeks ago.

“My heart breaks for his family, said Lits. "We’ve been in contact with them since the incident occurred and we’re assisting the police in any way that we can with the investigation.

READ: Meter-taxi drivers promise to fight Uber for territory

Lits said Uber was doing what it could to end the intimidation of its drivers.

"We do have security at the hotspots we are aware of. Drivers have access to a 24/7 emergency number. But at the end of the day, we are not law enforcement. The only way that this is going to be brought to an end is if law enforcement strongly condemns it, and arrests are made," he said.

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has denounced the violence between metered-taxi and Uber drivers.

On Wednesday, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula weighed in on the conflict, saying Uber had restored celebrities' dignity. He posted on Twitter: