By MJ Majuru
Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi has said that he cannot reveal what the outcome of the amendment will be, but that Parliament considering it proves a “willingness to accommodate innovation”.
‘Parliament considering including e-hailing services in amendment proves a willingness to accommodate innovation.’
South African metre-taxi operators have been up in arms recently, claiming they are forced to abide by rules that drivers using the digital services do not. The anger has spurred on acts of violence that resulted in the death of an Uber driver earlier this month.
The bone of contention lies with the permits required to transport passengers for profit. Though Uber South Africa assures that all its drivers have permits, the Land Transport Act of 2009 does not impose any specific laws on the services.
In a 12-hour meeting between the Department of Transport, the meter taxi associations and the e-hailing operators, Maswanganyi called for an end to the violence.
“We called on the affected parties to immediately cease acts of intimidation, disorder and violence which engulfed the industry,” the minister said in a statement.
Maswanganyi also called for all Uber vehicles to be clearly marked.
The Gauteng Concerned Meter-Taxi Operators is pleased with the minister’s commitment to enforcing the law over Uber drivers.
“We are happy because the minister was able to sit around the table with us and listen to our concerns,” convener Oupa Sikhosana said.
Sikhosana also compared Uber’s cheap prices to slavery, saying that young drivers had to drive 20 hours a day to make money.
These issues will be taken up with the Competition Commission, which has launched an inquiry into the public passenger transport sector. The scope of the inquiry will include price setting and regulations, route allocations, and licensing requirements among others.