Uber driver dies after attack on vehicle in South Africa

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIAMarketsAssociated Press

An Uber driver in South Africa died of severe burns on Monday after his car was set on fire amid concerns about threats from metered cab drivers who think the ride-hailing company is taking their business.

The man was attacked last month in the capital, Pretoria. Uber has assigned a team of former law enforcement officials to help police investigate the assault by a "small group of unknown individuals," the company said in a statement.

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"There is no excuse for these violent acts," Uber said. "We know that these actions do not represent the entire industry, however, this violence and intimidation against those who choose to use technology apps, like Uber, must stop."

Uber also reported intimidation of its drivers and riders at stations servicing the Gautrain, a railway system that includes a stop at Johannesburg's main international airport. The company said it was providing "additional security measures" around the train stations and had requested an urgent meeting with South Africa's police and transport ministers because "they are the only ones who can move this forward."

Taxi drivers in some other countries also have protested, sometimes violently, against Uber because of concerns over allegedly unfair competition. South African drivers with metered cabs previously have caused big traffic jams around O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to protest.

Drivers from Uber and another app-based company, Taxify, plan to submit an online petition to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula complaining of violence and intimidation. The petition also says drivers are vulnerable to armed robberies in a country with a high crime rate, as some riders pay in cash.


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