Carla Coetzee used the popular service to be transported from King Shaka International Airport to her home on Monday after returning from a trip to Johannesburg. She noticed something was “strange” about the driver as he was not friendly and stared at her throughout the trip.
“When I reached my home, I got out of the vehicle and had my handbag on my shoulder.
“The driver also got out the vehicle and he was just standing there, looking at me as I asked him to open the boot of the vehicle so that I could remove my luggage.
“He refused to open the boot and instead moved towards me.
“He pushed me and attempted to pull my handbag off my shoulder. I began screaming and ran towards my home,” said Coetzee.
As she ran towards her home, the driver got into the white Volkswagen Jetta and sped off with her luggage in the vehicle.
A screenshot of his information was shared on social media by Coetzee’s employer, but has since been removed owing to legal issues.
Coetzee has opened a case against the driver with the Durban North SAPS and said she hoped he would be removed from the service immediately because he was a threat to other users.
She also reported the incident to Uber authorities.
Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said that what has been described by Coetzee had no place on the Uber system.
“Upon learning of this, we immediately reached out to Coetzee to offer our support and we have removed the driver’s access to the app. We have been in contact with law enforcement agencies to assist their investigation in any way we can. Feedback is one way we can learn about potential issues.
“After every ride, riders and drivers are asked to rate each other and provide feedback. Our safety team reviews this information and investigates any issues. This incident was brought to our attention through this feedback loop,” said Allenberg.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele confirmed a case of theft was being investigated by Durban North SAPS.
Meanwhile, other Uber users have reacted to the incident on the Durban North Neighbours Facebook group.
Ashle Skaftouros said: “I think this is also a good reason to rate the drivers properly. The app almost tracks down the drivers you have rated well and will send your request specifically to those drivers if they are in the area.”
Debbie Freimond said: “I must say we have had some concerning drivers lately. Have had to report a few. Bad driving. Bad attitude. Filthy vehicles inside. Unfortunate. It can be such a great service.”’
Uber’s local statistics released this week said the service had 31000 active users in Durban compared with 112000 in Cape Town and 174000 in Joburg.
Meanwhile, the transport authority in London said last week that it would not renew Uber’s licence to operate, after it expired on Saturday. It cited public safety as its biggest concern.
Uber said it would appeal against this.