By Zukile Majova
Operators of e-hailing cabs are under siege at various malls in Soweto where minibus taxis have attacked them and torched their cars.
In the latest incident an e-hailing operator was forced out of his car and the vehicle was set alight on Monday night outside the Protea Glen Shopping Mall in Soweto.
Last Thursday e-hailing operators were attacked by minibus taxi drivers. Three vehicles were burned and four others damaged during a violent encounter at Maponya Mall.
On Tuesday, a strong force of the Johannesburg Metro Police blocked a confrontation between the Soweto United E-hailing Association and members of the National Taxi Alliance in Protea Glen.
The e-hailing operators, including those affiliated to Bolt and Uber, blocked access to the mall and demanded an intervention from the government.
Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics Kedibone Diale-Tlabela said: “These acts are unacceptable and must be dealt with harshly. We will not be deterred from building an integrated and modernised public transport system by individuals who use intimidation and violence to put their message across.”
The altercation stemmed from a failure of the government to regulate the public transport industry and decide on operating routes for minibus taxis, e-hailing cabs and private operators.
EFF Gauteng chairperson Nkululeko Dunga said the violence has been brewing for many months.
“This is not an isolated event as e-hailing drivers continue to be harassed by alleged taxi associations and the lives of users are continuously threatened across the country. The persistent attack on e-hailing drivers and their vehicles is not only a threat to life, but also an attack on families’ economic interests and livelihoods,” he said.
Members of the National Taxi Alliance who have rejected claims that they were responsible for the attacks on e-hailing operators have agreed to a meeting with the operators, the police and the government on Wednesday.
Pictured above: E-hailing cab operators and their cars were attacked in Maponya Mall in Soweto
Image and video source: Twitter