Police were on high alert as a large number of drivers marched to the offices of e-hailing service Uber in Sandton on Monday.
The drivers were demanding an increase of R50 per trip on UberX call outs to match the rising price of petrol and the inflation rate.
They handed over a memorandum of demands to management after a long wait. The company shut its doors ahead of the demonstration and‚ while waiting outside‚ the drivers got agitated and the demonstration almost descended into chaos.
If the company does not respond within seven days‚ the drivers have threatened to resort to a strike on July 2. Sizwe Mabena said: “They don’t want to listen to us. We are angered. What’s more painful is that our grievances are not taken seriously. How must we feed our families when they continue like this?”
Hundreds of Uber and Taxify drivers had assembled earlier on Jan Smuts Avenue near the Johannesburg Zoo‚ before moving to nearby Zoo Lake.
Nkosinathi Nguni‚ an Uber driver‚ said he was working like a slave.
“We are tired of working hard and earning less. Right now the petrol price went up and Uber doesn’t increase trip prices. They don’t even care about the safety of drivers‚ safety is not taken seriously‚” said Nguni.
Sifiso Tshabalala‚ another driver‚ said: “Our complaints don’t matter. The only allegations they take seriously are those of customers and never the driver. Sometimes customers are the ones who victimise us.
“On top of that‚ they take 25 percent from all transactions. That’s killing us because‚ imagine‚ if the trip is R20‚ what will you have remaining?”
Among other complaints was that the App did not show the identity of cash riders‚ which drivers said compromised their safety.
“For them to make money and stay in business‚ we contribute. We buy petrol‚ data and cars and they only help with the application. And we are making money for them. The least they can do is respect us‚” said Meshack Mathebula.
Mathebula said he was getting tired of the company’s “arrogance”.