Increasing petrol prices, poor safety for drivers and low minimum trip fees are among the main concerns for Uber drivers who marched in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The drivers plan to protest for a second day on Thursday, this time approaching municipal officials. The drivers handed over a memorandum to Uber.
“I think one of the things on my mind now is the safety of the drivers that has never been taken seriously by these apps. In the past few years, it’s always the drivers who have been hijacked and robbed. And these platforms never take any initiative to help the drivers in terms of that,” said Siyabonga Hlabisa, chairperson of the Western Cape E-hailing Association.
“And also there’s a petrol hike in SA. Most of the apps never increase the prices they charge their riders. They never consider the petrol price.” Hlabisa said the commission Uber takes is too high, at 25%. “We want 10%,” he said.
The drivers travelled slowly on the N2 highway, a major traffic route from the Cape Town International Airport to the inner city. It is also a major route for workers travelling into the CBD.
Igwi Aloni, Uber driver and entrepreneur, said he has been with Uber since it began in SA. He said to make a decent income he also works in the film industry as a freelance gaffer. He is concerned that the 30% commission he is charged is unaffordable.
“You see the price of petrol is up, but Uber is still charging people 30% and, second, blocking other drivers [that are speaking out to media],” he said.
The memorandum was accepted by Ofentse Hlulani Mokwena, Uber SA head of public policy.
He said the organisation had also received grievances from drivers in Gauteng.
“We don’t refuse to engage. That’s why we are here. Maybe it’s new for you to be present in these type of engagements. But for us, it is important to say we are here for you as well. Our success depends on your success and your grievances will be taken up. We will be arranging further discussions,” he said.
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