The Uber driver who was attacked by a man who threw acid at him. He did not want to be identified, fearing for his life. Picture: Supplied
Johannesburg - An Uber driver has for the first time spoken about his horrific ordeal when an unknown white male passenger attacked him with acid in Joburg’s Northcliff suburb early this month.

The 33-year-old Uber driver, speaking after his release from hospital on Tuesday, asked not to be named, fearing that his assailant, who is still at large, may return “to finish me off”.

Visibly still in pain, the driver showed the severe burn wounds to his face and hands.

He said: “The suspect kept on directing me far away from the main road, he then poured acid on to my face and hands and he was laughing very loud when I was burning. I managed to take off my clothes and rolled on the ground.”

He told The Star about how his life had become a daily struggle as he has completely lost the use of his hands.

“My hands are just bones, I lost all my skin. I am struggling to eat and to drink. I can’t even bath myself, my girlfriend has to do everything for me before she goes to work,” said the victim.

He repeated the constant fear for his life. “Every time I close my eyes, I see the man’s face. I still hear that man’s voice laughing at me.

“I won’t be able to go to work for the coming four months, I am very hurt,” the Uber driver added.

An angry family spokesperson said they were deeply disappointed by Uber’s response.

“We are very upset, especially because he is the breadwinner not only for himself, but for the whole family,” said the family member.

“He supports his mother who is ill. We never received any call or heard anyone from Uber saying they want to go to the hospital and see their employee.”

It is believed an Uber representative spoke to the victim’s girlfriend, telling her the company would deposit money to cover all medical expenses.

“I told my girlfriend not to use that money, I will return it, because Uber never phoned me or my family to get full details about my suffering and pain,” said the driver.

Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said they were disheartened to hear that their driver felt Uber had not provided support.

“We have tried to no avail to make contact again today, to ensure he knows we are there to support him during this difficult time. We urge him to answer our calls.

“We are fully aware of this terrible incident which is deeply upsetting to all of us at Uber. We have made every effort to visit him in the hospital and meet with his family while there. We continue to stay in contact with them,” said Allenberg.

One of the Uber drivers, Zweli Ngwenya, said they were unhappy about such incidents but had no choice and would still go to work.

“As hard as it is, we are forced to wake up and go to work, we have cars to pay off and families to look after.

“It is also sad because Uber is not offering any security for cash trips. I feel it is dangerous for drivers because they cannot trace back who requested the car.”

The Star