Striking e-hailing operators condemn acts of violence

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Striking e-hailing operators have condemned the violence, including the alleged disarming of a police officer, by some protesting individuals during Tuesday’s shutdown.

The protest action is expected to continue on Wednesday and Thursday.

Hundreds of e-hailing drivers on Tuesday submitted a memorandum of demands to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, calling for the industry to be regulated.

The operators have embarked on a three-day national shutdown in a bid to highlight alleged exploitation and safety concerns.

E-hailing spokesperson Vhatuka Mbelengwa says they witnessed some individuals stopping an unmarked police vehicle and in the process, injuring the police officer and taking his firearm.

“We had a peaceful protest and regrettably had one incident where some reckless drivers confronted some unmarked police vehicle and then they disarmed the police officer. We intervened. I can confirm that I recovered the firearm and handed over the involved individuals to law enforcement. We are committed to ensuring our strike remains peaceful and we condemn any acts of violence that are happening in any other areas.”

In the report below, e-hailing drivers submit a memorandum of demand to government: 

“Avoid breaking the law”

Meanwhile, organisers of the e-hailing drivers’ strike are pleading with participants of the action to avoid breaking the law.

The operators will today march to the office of the Transport MEC in Gauteng.

Mbelengwa says: “It is illegal to stop vehicles. It is illegal to confront people who choose to work. We cannot undermine the efforts of all participants all over the country who have taken the call to shut down and let it be diluted by criminal activity. I plead with everybody to report criminal activity and support law enforcement to protect our strike so it can be impactful and our message to be heard. For society to respect us, we must respect society ourselves.”

In the report below, e-hailing drivers call for industry to be regulated:

-Additional reporting by Phumzile Mlangeni