Uber, Bolt drivers set for negotiation process to end ’exploitation, mistreatment’
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Pretoria - Aggrieved e-hailing drivers who sought the intervention of the government to end their "exploitation and mistreatment" by app companies like Uber and Bolt have agreed to negotiations facilitated by an independent mediator.
The drivers who earlier this month downed keys and marched to the office of Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula in Pretoria are set for a month-long negotiation process facilitated following the intervention of MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo.
The drivers marched in Pretoria demanding that the government regulate the international app companies they accused of exploiting them by offering significantly cheaper trips that also placed them in a position of conflict with metered taxi drivers.
They also demanded improved security for all drivers because their colleagues were dying at the hands of criminals who posed as passengers looking for a lift. Some said the app companies were not fair disciplining drivers whereby drivers would just be removed from the app after complaints that were not adequately investigated to get both sides of the story.
The drivers and e-hailing companies held a meeting on Wednesday following Mamabolo's commitment to bring the two parties closer to each other in order to resolve challenges that face their industry.
Mamabolo described the inaugural meeting of the parties as constructive and fruitful.
He said: "Both parties welcomed and appreciated the opportunity afforded by the engagements, agreed that some issues will require some time and will not be finalised overnight.
"It is for this reason that we have agreed on the appointment of an independent mediator to facilitate the process," Mamabolo said.
He further indicated that an independent mediator was in a position to provide an objective, detailed report with a clear way-forward on how to resolve issues affecting both parties.
"We are of the view that a negotiated settlement is a far better mechanism to resolve issues as opposed to protests and road blockages. A variety of issues raised by driver-partners have remained unresolved for years and we hope the agreed month-long negotiation period will be enough for parties to find each other and come up with sustainable solutions."
"As part of the department’s strategy of growing Gauteng together through smart mobility - which facilitates fast, convenient and safe mobility – we urge all parties, as far as possible, not to engage in disruptive behaviour and protests but to choose dialogue as a means to raise and resolve issues," Mamabolo added.