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SA transport minister wants Uber drivers to apply for public transport permits

Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says that he wants Uber drivers to apply for public transport licenses and comply with legislation, or be removed from SA roads.

The minister’s comments come as tensions between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers flare up, with the former accusing the latter of stealing potential work while getting a free ride themselves from the government.

In late June, metered taxi drivers marched in protest against the ‘favouritism’ shown to Uber drivers in the country. While the group’s strike action was denied, a memorandum of grievances was still delivered to authorities.

Metered taxi drivers need to attain a public transport permit to operate – however, this same requirement is not needed to be an Uber driver. A turf war has erupted between the two parties, particularly around Gautrain stations.

In the past few months, Uber drivers have been attacked and had their vehicles set alight, while some metered taxi drivers have suffered similar abuses in retaliation.

According to the department of transport, Uber is not included under the National Land Traffic Act which requires all public transport operators to be licensed.

However, Maswanganyi says that, after discussions with the South African National Taxi Council, he believes no one who offers public transport services should operate without a permit.

Those who operate without a license should be removed from the roads, he said.

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