Sowetan LIVE 21 February 2020
One person was apparently shot with a rubber bullet during a protest by e-hailing taxi service drivers yesterday.
The protest took place on the M1 north, towards Kramerville, Sandton.
Shortly after 1pm, police had to disperse Bolt (formerly Taxify) and Uber drivers after they had caused a traffic backlog since Wednesday morning, as they voiced their frustrations over remuneration rates.
Police admitted to firing rubber bullets, but said they had not received reports of anyone being injured.
However, a video posted on social media shows a man with a bloody wound just above his right hip – seemingly caused by a rubber bullet.
Thabiso Sithole, who said he was an Uber driver, said their complaints fell on deaf ears.
“I joined Uber when it was launched in the country and we were promised to make at least R8,000 a week.
“But they have not controlled the influx of drivers and so this makes it difficult to make money.
“This app is bankrupting me. I cannot afford the life I am living right now. I literally live month to month. I don’t even want to talk about my health,” Sithole said.
“In order for you to make that money, you don’t rest. There’s a lot of things that are wrong. We are also fighting the lack of recognition and regulation of the business.”
He said the companies needed to do more to standardise pricing in a manner that will not leave the drivers worse off.
The lack of safety for both drivers and commuters was also raised as a concern.
“The Land Transport Act doesn’t recognise e-hailing transport. We are not recognised by any government structure and so we are not protected. It’s easy for people to tell you to start an app and stop complaining but we all know that’s not an easy thing,” said Sithole.