SABC News - Attacks on Uber drivers a concern for police :Monday 7 August 2017

Attacks on Uber drivers a concern for police

Monday 7 August 2017 21:15

Manqoba Mchunu

Uber has raised further concerns and says it will assist with investigations.

Uber has raised further concerns and says it will assist with investigations.(REUTERS)

Gauteng police say they're concerned about a new trend in which Uber drivers are attacked, robbed and doused with harmful chemicals.

This follows an incident on Sunday morning in Johannesburg during which a 33-year-old driver was burnt with acid.

He was one of several e-hailing drivers targeted this weekend and also suffered severe burn wounds to his hands.

The attacker fled in his vehicle.

Another driver was held at knife point in Roodepoort on Sunday, but managed to escape. Two suspects were arrested.

Police Spokesperson Kay Makhubele says, “There is a trend of calling Ubers, and at the end they rob them because on Friday as well, we had another incident in Midrand where about another five Uber e-drivers were robbed of their belongings. Two Nigerians and one Zimbawean were arrested.”

E-hailing drivers say this is not an isolated incident.

Teressa Munchick of The Movement says, “There was at least one other attack with acid, and there has been two attacks with petrol - and someone that we know was doused with petrol and set alight.”

In most of these cases attackers pose as clients paying cash.

“All of the hijackings that we know of and all the robberies at gun point and knife point, as far as we know these are new attacks.The latest incidents have all been on cash trips. So, there is no way to identify the perpetrators,” says Munchick.

Uber has raised further concern and says it will assist with investigations.

“What's been described is deeply upsetting. We're investigating the incident and have reached out to the partner’s family to check on his wellbeing and offer
our support. We stand ready to help the police with any information needed for their investigation," says Samantha Allenberg, Uber Spokesperson.

Police say there was a similar incident involving acid in Hillbrow last week. They believe the same person or group may be behind the attacks.

They are appealing for people with information to come forward.

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