Pretoria - Bolt has suspended pick-up and drop-off points at Maponya Mall to ensure that drivers and passengers are safe while they assess the situation.
This follows the torching and stoning of vehicles owned by e-hailing operators at the Maponya Mall in Soweto on Thursday night.
Gauteng police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Nevhuhulwi said three vehicles were torched while four were damaged, the owners assaulted and one of them shot.
Nevhuhulwi said police were investigating a case of attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
Bolt regional manager Takura Malaba said the company had escalated the issue with the management of Maponya Mall and police, including Crime Intelligence, to ensure that the matter was closely monitored.
“Bolt condemns criminal conduct and violence of any form directed towards ride-hailing drivers because it believes that everyone has the right to earn a living and move around without risk of harm, intimidation, coercion, or fear of death or injury.
“It is important to note that Bolt does not compete with minibus taxis. Public transport has multiple modes and Bolt acts as an important component of multimodal transport and is an important option available for passengers,” he said.
Uber said that because of the violence, it had launched safety features over the years, including features dedicated to the South African market.
“These include the in-app emergency button, which dispatches armed security to your location within minutes in the event of an emergency. Other features include GPS tracking, Trusted Contacts, and Safety Check-Up,” it said.
Meanwhile, Maponya Mall management released a statement saying it had bolstered its security to ensure enhanced safety measures throughout the mall premises.
“We appeal for calm during this time and urge the community to support our efforts to restore normalcy and maintain a peaceful environment for all.”
Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, the South African E-Hailing Association’s spokesperson, Vhatuka Mbelengwa, said incident was part of a decade of violence resulting from the government’s failure to regulate the transport industry and allow all role-players to operate in a safe ecosystem.
“Our government has failed to create a healthy ecosystem within transport where the different participants can complement each other instead of compete with each other.
“As a failure of the government to deploy a price-determining instrument within the e-hailing industry, the Bolt and Ubers of this world have undermined the traditional transport industry, the traditional taxi industry, and the pricing is set to compete directly with that segment of public transport, which makes no sense,” he said.