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Uber calls on all taxi drivers to work together

Meter taxi drivers obstructed traffic on Friday morning during an illegal go-slow on the R24 and R21 highways, calling for Uber to leave SA.

Uber head office in Parktown. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Uber says protesting meter taxi drivers are welcome to use the same technology it uses to boost their income, adding it welcomes any drivers who wish to join the platform.

Meter taxi drivers obstructed traffic on Friday morning during an illegal go-slow on the R24 and R21 highways.
They’ve called for the presence of the cab-hailing service to leave South Africa.

However, Uber insists both transport utilities should work together and says ongoing threats and intimidation are unacceptable.

Uber managing director Alon Lits says Friday’s protests only underlines why South Africans are increasingly choosing safe and reliable transport alternatives like Uber.

Earlier there were heavy traffic delays with Gauteng metered taxi drivers blocking parts of the R24 highway in both directions and affecting those bound for various destinations, including OR Tambo International Airport.

Taxi drivers parked their vehicles near the Barbara Road off-ramp.

Sekwala Mashikinya, a meter taxi driver, said Uber was not suitable for South Africa.

“We need to get clarity. Today we’re prepared to die here. The police are usually shooting people who are demonstrating for their rights. So they must kill us for our own rights.”

CALL FOR ACTION

Gauteng meter taxi drivers say they will sleep at the OR Tambo International Airport on Friday night in order to get government to deal with their grievances against Uber.

Protest leader Mmamang Nkadimeng says they will not back down without receiving concrete answers from government on how it will deal with Uber.

“They can call Zuma to come here and tell us what time this app (Uber) will be switched off.”

Meter taxi drivers say they’re done listening to government’s “endless excuses” on why Uber can't be regulated or even banned.

UPROAR

Tempers flared outside the Uber head office in Parktown North on Friday.

Uber driver representatives say they’ve received a response from management, committing to a meeting but have not set an exact date.

The South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police Department monitored the situation.

Taxi drivers say they’re losing their patience with management and want to see action.

Driver representative Zweli Ngwenya says although the police have agreed to intervene and meet with their management, the drivers aren’t happy.

“There might be war that comes and we want to avoid bloodshed. We are trying to stop this from happening.”

Drivers argued about whether to let police handle the matter or take it into their own hands.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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