Police are searching for a suspect, described as a white man, who allegedly attacked and hijacked an Uber driver yesterday morning while posing as a passenger.
A 51-year-old driver was found severely injured on the side of the road in Northcliff after being hijacked. Paramedics from ER24 and a local security company arrived at the scene at around 2am and the driver told them he had been assaulted by a passenger.
The liquid thrown into his face was believed to be pool acid and it left the driver in a “serious condition”, with severe burns on his face and arms, according to paramedics.
Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the suspect had hailed an Uber from Sophiatown, requesting a ride to Waterval Estate in Northcliff.
The Uber Drivers’ Movement suspected a syndicate was operating, targeting drivers in the area. Their spokesperson, Theresa Munchik, said this was not the first incident of its kind in the area, citing at least two similar attacks over the past few weeks.
“This seems to be a serial act but we are not sure whether it is tied to the pool acid attacks. From the reports on the radio, it seems to be a white guy with a scar on his face involved in some of the cases,” she said.
Munchik added that ride-sharing drivers – Uber and Taxify – were becoming increasingly reluctant to accept cash trips, in which riders elect to pay cash instead of using linking the trip to their bank card, because it made the passengers harder to identify.
She said to their knowledge, all the attacks had involved a passenger hailing an Uber or Taxify ride with the cash option.
“If it were not cash trips they could have been easily identified and arrested.”
Munchik’s group was set to visit the latest victim in hospital.
They were reluctant to give details of the victim’s whereabouts, or his family.