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Three-month ban imposed on Uber and Bolt inside Soweto malls



Soweto malls

Amid recent outbreaks of violence involving e-hailing taxi drivers and minibus taxi operators in Soweto, an agreement has been reached prohibiting e-hailing drivers from dropping off or picking up passengers inside Soweto malls for the next three months.

According to TimesLIVE, the agreement follows violence at Maponya Mall and Protea shopping centre, where taxi operators torched several e-hailing taxis, accusing Bolt and Uber drivers of infringing on their business. The clashes between drivers led to the temporary closure of some roads in Protea.

On Wednesday, the South African E-hailing Association met with Soweto Taxi Services (STS) and the City of Joburg officials to address the ongoing violence and seek a resolution.

The national spokesperson for the e-hailing association, Vhatuka Mbelengwa, acknowledged that the three-month agreement, while temporary, was a step towards ensuring community safety. Mbelengwa emphasised the need to find a permanent solution but recognised the importance of trying something to protect both the community and e-hailing drivers.

The STS chairperson Myekeleni Madlala also welcomed the agreement, highlighting that it aimed to ensure the safety of everyone involved. According to Madlala, the agreement stipulates that e-hailing drivers will not enter the malls but will only stop at the mall gates. Discussions on a permanent solution will be held at a later stage.


Also read: Protea Glen Mall – e-hailing cab torched in disturbing incident

Mgcini Tshwaku, the MMC for public safety, noted that the main concern among traditional taxi drivers was e-hailing drivers encroaching on their space at taxi ranks in malls. Tshwaku emphasised that e-hailing services could not wait for customers inside the malls, raising questions about the perpetrators behind the vehicle torchings and urging unity instead of blame within the industry.

MMC for transport Kenny Kunene added that further discussions would occur on Friday to finalise the remaining solutions. For now, the agreement stands that e-hailing services must drop off passengers at the mall gates, with exceptions for elderly individuals or those with disabilities who e-hailing services can drop off inside the malls.

Kunene assured that the situation was under control despite road blockages in Protea on Wednesday. Police officers will be present to enforce the resolution, and non-compliance may result in the impoundment of vehicles.

Tshwaku mentioned deploying an intelligence unit team on the ground to ensure security in the coming days, recognising the need to anticipate potential developments beyond the initial agreement.


Also read:

Taxi Association and E-Hailing Drivers to Convene for Meeting

Picture: Twitter/ MTshwaku

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