Pretoria - Gauteng Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo has issued a letter to e-hailing drivers of Bolt, Uber and Didi urging them to call off their strike action which is planned for next week from Tuesday to at least Thursdayby.
In the letter addressed to organisers of the strike, and the drivers, Mamabolo reminded the organisers about the previous meetings which took place in March 2021 until June 2021, saying an agreement was reached that disputes concerning e-hailing operators and their drivers will be resolved through mediation process.
“I am writing this letter to you, to reiterate that no dispute or grievance can be legitimately addressed outside of the ambit of mediation as agreed between the parties.
“I further bring to your attention that due to the volatile and vulnerable nature of the taxi industry in Gauteng, a protest march of this nature can potentially lead to violence, instability or loss of lives,” Mamabolo said in the letter.
He asked the organisers to respond to him within 24-hours of receiving the letter assuring him that the protest wont happen and they will resolve the issue through mediation.
“Should you fail to provide me with such an undertaking, I will be left with no choice but to approach the High Court on an urgent basis, to seek interdictory relief, the costs of which will be borne by yourselves,” Mamabolo said in the letter.
Responding to the letter in a statement, Vhatuka Mbelengwa the national spokesperson for e-hailing drivers under the banner of Unity in Action, said the mediation process which the MEC is referring to has not been helpful.
“A year later not a single impactful engagement has been held and appointed mediators have remained unreachable.”
Mbelengwa said they are not looking for violence, instead they are also looking for ways to quell the violence in the taxi industry.
“The MEC has failed to understand we seek a healthy ecosystem within public transportation in order for the eradication of violence, regulation will ensure clearly defined roles and responsibilities all participants should adhere to.”
Mbelengwa said it was a constitutional right for drivers to protest and they will continue with the protest.
Meanwhile, Bolt alerted drivers on Friday that it was increasing fares by at least R1 per kilometre across its ride categories. The increase would also see Bolt increase base fares across their platform.
Earlier in the week, Uber announced it had increased base fares, but it did not increase fares. A base fare is the minimum amount e-hailing apps may charge for a ride. Uber did not increase its kilometre rate in the wake of the looming strike.
Despite the move by Bolt, Dese, the acting chief co-ordinator of the strike in Tshwane said the strike will continue as planned.
“The increase is nothing, because they still take most of the commission. They take too much money from us. I know Uber has introduced a tax system where they tax drivers, however drivers can’t claim tax.
“Its not only about the price increment, there’s a lot that needs to be addressed, including the fake profiles that illegitimate drivers use to commit crime and paint in a negative light,” Dese said.
Uber is understood to charge drivers 25% of all rides, as well as a booking fee and a tax deduction, while Bolt charges 23% of all rides, as well as a booking fee.
Drivers are calling for a reduction in the service fees charged by the e-hailing operators.
The new Bolt prices, which came into effect on Friday are as follows:
Bolt Go: R7/km, Minimum: R27
Bolt Base/Woman: R8/km, R28
Bolt Comfort: R8.10/km, R39
Bolt XL: R8/km, R39
Bolt Premium: R13/km, R65
Bolt Van: R15/km, R85
Cancellation fees for rides will be charged at between R19 to R65, with the cancellation charged dependent on the ride category.
Below is a snapshot of the new pricing.