VIDEO: Durban e-hailing cab drivers targeted by criminals
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Durban - The number of e-hailing cabs being
hijacked has more than tripled in
recent months, with such incidents
appearing to occur more frequently in
the Durban South region, the Durban e-hailing Association has said.
The association met last week to discuss the recent spike in hijackings and to discuss a way forward - between it, e-hailing drivers and the police.
Association chairperson Andre de Bruin said the hijackings were a great concern for the e-hailing community.
“Hijackings and robberies used to be on a scale of 0-2 hijackings per month. Now it has tripled and blown out of proportion, to at least 8 to 12 cars, thus our meeting on Wednesday night,” he said.
“Before it used to be about robbing the drivers for cash, but now it is for car parts, as well their cash and cellphones, which are imperative for trips,” he added.
A video of another hijacking circulating on social media shows four men in a cab attacking an e-hailing service driver. One grabs him by the neck from behind, while the man in the front passenger seat produces a knife and another appears to be taking charge of the wheel. The attack is thought to have occurred earlier this month in Wentworth. Video: Supplied.
De Bruin said most hijackings of e-hailing services occur between 9pm and 11.30pm.
He described the situation as an onslaught on the industry, and worries that the recent hijackings could end in tragedy.
Wentworth Police station commander Colonel Willem van Zyl confirmed there was a high incidence of e-hailing cars being hijacked.
“This phenomenon grew, especially within the Wentworth area, among vehicles used for e-hailing,” he said.
One recent victim was Brayley Marnitz, of Wentworth, a first-time e-hailing driver.
Marnitz had been on the first day of the job, when he accepted his last trip about 8.30pm, earlier this month.
“When I got to the pinned location, a guy walked towards me and said ‘I’m the one who requested’. I had just asked about where he was going to, when another man came from behind him and pulled out a gun. I tried to escape, but the car stalled and he said ‘We just want the car’.”He was then forced to lay flat down by the hijackers, on a long ride to an unfamiliar location, where he was asked to remove his shoes. He was asked to get back in and they drove for at least an hour, before stopping in front of what appeared to be a house.
A helicopter then flew over the house, which it later transpired was in uMlazi, at least four times before disappearing. It appeared it was tracking another e-hailing car, according to Marnitz.
“At the house, they stripped the car and asked me a bunch of questions about the location of the tracker, and the owner’s details. They removed the tracker, made me get in the car and then drove off. When they stopped, they told me to jump out, so I ran as fast as I could until I saw houses and approached a man and screamed for help. The man did not speak English and was confused, but still took me to the police station in uMlazi, where I contacted my family and was brought home to open a case,” he said.
Marnitz said his cellphone and R100 from cash trips were stolen in the attack. He does not plan driving for an e-hailing service again.
A video of another hijacking circulating on social media shows four men in a cab attacking an e-hailing service driver. One grabs him by the neck from behind, while the man in the front passenger seat produces a knife and another appears to be taking charge of the wheel. The attack is thought to have occurred earlier this month in Wentworth.