A scheduled feedback session for Uber drivers fearing for their safety took a wrong turn on Tuesday when the company called security, resulting in a standoff outside the Uber offices near the Cape Town International Airport.
Driver Zuko Tyaleashe said the group of less than 20 contractors “came in peace”, wanting to discuss their safety concerns with the company after the murder of an Uber driver in Belhar just over a week ago.
The 29-year-old man – who did Uber trips as well as private trips – was shot dead in Violin Crescent, Belhar.
Uber said the incident happened “off the app”.
“They told us to come this week. When we did and asked to talk to them, they refused to come and speak to us. Instead they phoned security who surrounded us with guns. They even phoned the police when we did nothing illegal. We didn’t even sing!” said Tyaleashe.
“We told security to shoot, because they were pointing the guns at us. We only came to talk, in peace.”
Uber spokesperson Samantha Allenberg said a small group had arrived at their Cape Town Greenlight Hub on Tuesday after the company, last week, “updated all driver-partners about this tragic passing and let them know that it was not during an Uber trip”.
She blamed misinformation on incorrect media articles.
When asked if Uber had refused to engage with drivers and had sent security out instead, Allenberg said the company is “always willing to engage with drivers on an independent basis through the approved support channels”.
“We respect driver-partners as valuable partners with a voice and a choice and we want driver-partners to feel they can talk to us about anything at any time.
“We have established channels of communication to raise these type of concerns. Our partner support team operates 24/7. We are always talking with partners and taking their feedback on board. We regularly host focus groups and we intend to increase the frequency of these.”