A Cape Town woman claims that when the boot of her Taxify ride to the airport was popped on Thursday morning, she was confronted by the startling sight of a human body.
She told The Citizen: “I was flying from Cape Town to Johannesburg and had luggage with me. When the vehicle arrived, I went straight to the boot without speaking to driver. It wasn’t open, but the driver then popped the boot, and when I opened it there was a human body there.
“I can’t say if the person was dead. The guy had his arm over his face. When I screamed loudly, he didn’t move, so my assumption is that he was unconscious,” she added.
She said the driver promptly drove away upon hearing her screams. She had to ask her boyfriend to give her a lift to the airport instead.
“My concern is for the person in that car, who could still have been alive. I want to know that person was okay,” she said.
She said she was only able to determine that the man was dark-skinned and appeared young; he was wearing “khaki chinos and a shirt with orange, green and white stripes”.
She added that she’d tried several times unsuccessfully to contact Taxify since the incident at 5am.
“This is supposedly the emergency support number,” she says. “What would I have done if I was robbed or mugged?” she asked.
She added that she discovered the Taxify app has an SOS function, but it can only be used during an active trip and you “have to read a two-page document to find out about it and it can be only used while the trip is taking place”.
This was not an option available to her, as the driver had quickly cancelled the impending trip after driving away.
The woman confirmed she had reported the incident to the police, who she claims were only marginally more helpful than Taxify.
“When I got off the plane I phoned the Woodstock police station and reported it to them but they weren’t that helpful. I then reported it at a station in Douglasdale (Johannesburg).”
“It feels nothing is really happening,” she added, clearly shaken. “I do not think I’ll be able to get in a cab again,” she said.
She mentioned that she wants to “raise awareness around Uber and Taxify; I keep hearing stories and thinking it won’t happen to me”.
“I would have been more at peace if someone just mugged me,” she said of her discovery.
“If the driver did know there was a body in the boot, why did he open it? But if he didn’t, why did he not react to my screaming and just drive away?”
The Citizen called Taxify’s PR company for comment. The company sent us the following statement:
“Taxify is aware of this reported incident and our High Priority Team is investigating. This includes engaging with both the rider and driver concerned to establish the facts of the incident. Taxify will from this investigation determine the necessary actions, including any appropriate assistance to the relevant authorities, including the SAPS, if requested.”
When we phoned the Taxify driver himself, he denied that there had been a body in the boot. He said it was just a “pile of clothing,” and the woman must have been mistaken.
He claims he drove away upon hearing the woman’s screams, as they made him “worried”.
UPDATE: Comment from Taxify was added at 11:23am, November 9.