Angry members of the Gauteng Concerned Meter Taxi Operators chanted “we are going to burn these Uber taxis” on Wednesday when marching from Marabastad to the offices of the department of transport in Struben Street, Pretoria.
The 400 operators, determined to protect their transport industry jobs from “foreign companies”, said they would use any means necessary to stop Uber from operating.
They claimed some Uber vehicles were owned by government and law enforcement officials, which was why their pleas during engagements with the Gauteng MEC for roads and transport, Ismail Vadi, fell on deaf ears.
Two of their biggest concerns were that tuk-tuks were issued permits belonging to double decker buses and that the Uber app was introduced without consulting metered taxis.
EFF deputy chair of Tshwane MoAfrika Mabogwana said the party organised Wednesday’s march on behalf of the metered taxi operators.
“We agree with their issues. Until these consultations happen, Uber and tuk-tuks must not operate,” Mabogwana said.
“We believe in the protection of local business – and that includes the metered taxis.”
Reading the memorandum, EFF’s Mang-mang Nkadimeng said local metered taxis could not compete with Uber’s below-market prices.
“It is their plan to push us out of business and then increase their prices, because they’ll be in control of the industry.
“Where is the Competition Commission?” Nkadimeng asked.
Department of transport staffer Moses Simelane accepted the memorandum. He was warned to respond within 14 days.
“Failing to do so might result in civil disobedience to protect our industry.”
Roads and transport member of the mayoral committee Sheila Lynn Senkubuge said: “We will address the grievances.”
Meanwhile, the Tshwane Meter Taxi Association yesterday distanced itself from the Tshwane Concerned Meter Taxi Operators movement.