E-hailing drivers say their industry has become tainted by unscrupulous criminals who easily enter their platforms because of a weak vetting systems.
“We are getting robbed. We are having our riders robbed and that brings us a bad name. We are asking for regulations as an intervention, we are being harassed by our counterparts in the minibus taxi and meter taxis and we want these issues to be resolved in the regulations,” Melithemba Mnguni, the convener of the e-hailers strike, said on Tuesday.
E-hailing operators for companies including Uber, Bolt and DiDi embarked on a three-day “apps off” protest across SA from Tuesday, calling on the government to introduce industry regulations to improve their working conditions.
In Pretoria, drivers marched to the offices of the department of trade & industry and to the Union Buildings on Tuesday.
E-hailing operators national spokesperson Vhatuka Mbelengwa said the department of trade, industry & competition must correctly define e-hailing companies.
“We are running our businesses below cost and this is causing so much hazard also for the riders because we cannot sustain our cars. We cannot afford insurance, we cannot afford tyres, the cars are not roadworthy because we are not getting enough earnings. The same pricing is putting us at loggerheads with our counterparts — the minibus taxis — because we are now in direct competition with them,” said Mnguni.
He has asked the government to intervene through regulation.
“We are infiltrated because the system is weak, they are allowing people to masquerade as drivers — they rape our riders, rob our riders, which taints our names as drivers.
“We are being robbed as drivers, with people masquerading as riders, they come to rob us and there is no means to trace them. We are also saying the e-hailing app companies are taking too much commission.”