Cape Town impounds over 200 Uber vehicles

Govt says drivers should apply for a chartered service operating licence, but the WC has ignored this.

Traffic Officer who forms part of the Ghost Squad writing out a ticket in Cape Town. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - City of Cape Town officials say Uber drivers are falling foul of the law by not getting the required operating licence.

More than 200 cars belonging to Uber drivers have been impounded in the city since the beginning of January.

The internet service, which has taken off after being introduced in Johannesburg in August 2013, connects users to drivers through an app.

Uber drivers operate on a chartered licence in Johannesburg, which is supposedly less onerous to obtain than a metered taxi permit required in Cape Town.

Uber's Alon Lits says national government has issued a practice note that drivers should apply for chartered service operating licences, but the Western Cape has apparently ignored this.

He says nevertheless, drivers have been trying to comply with legislation in the mother city.

"Individuals have been trying got obtain these licences for over six months. This is a process that should take a month; two months at most."

Lits claims there has been inconsistent interpretation of the National Land Transport Act, a piece of legislation penned before advances in Smart phone technology.

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith says law enforcement officials have to treat all public transport operators equally.

"Entities such as the Western Cape Metre taxi council have been monitoring whether Uber is treated the same as them. And in fact they have been threats of of violence if the Uber taxis are not treated the same."