E-hailing taxi drivers in Nelson Mandela Bay are operating under a cloud of fear as they appear to have become easy targets for criminals. This week, an operator was shot dead while four others were robbed in separate incidents.
All incidents took place in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth.
The Snayers family is still in shock after 30-year old Garrison Snayers was found with multiple gunshot wounds inside his car.
It’s alleged he was dropping off a passenger in New Brighton when the attacker struck.
The motive is unknown and only his cellphone was taken. A murder case is being investigated by the police.
Snayers mother Theresa Warrick says she is devastated by the murder of her son.
“Garrison was very close to me, even my other child used to say I treat him like a baby because he’s my only son and he was a happy person and I understand him. So to see your child die like that is not nice. It’s very heartbreaking.”
Meanwhile, four other drivers were allegedly robbed in New Brighton on the same day.
The same modus operandi was used. A new user, requesting a long-distance destination. The driver is then robbed at the pick-up point.
Drivers say the operating system makes them easy targets.
E-hailing taxi driver Zozo Matikinca says they’re hailed electronically without the identity of the requestor being revealed, making arrests very difficult for the police.
“We have been reporting this to the apps; we have been telling them on a day-to-day basis. Our safety is not right. They are more worried about getting their commission; that’s all they bothered. Bolt will block you if you don’t want to accept trips for example in New Brighton and you cancel. If you are doing it numerous times, they will eventually block you because they are more worried about their commission. You are making them lose money.”
South African manager for Bolt, Gareth Taylor, says they have introduced new safety features such as an emergency button that shares the driver’s live location and details. The company says drivers have an option to decline trips if they feel unsafe without their ratings being affected.
A meeting between e-hailing taxi services in Nelson Mandela Bay and the police is expected to take place on Monday in a bid to find a solution.