Charles and Lisa Onyigbuo are suing Uber after a driver recommended by the ride-sharing platform used their vehicle to commit a string of armed robberies in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the Sunday Times reports.
The couple employed an Uber driver who called himself “Ian Jordaan” to drive their BMW 3 series, sharing in the driver’s profits.
Jordaan began working for the couple on 16 January, and for the first week the couple received regular receipts showing he had completed a number of trips.
After the invoices stopped coming in on 28 January however, the couple visited Jordaan’s landlord and discovered that the man was using a false identity.
Jordaan’s real name was Dean Dube, and the landlord showed the couple a copy of Dube’s Zimbabwean passport to confirm his identity.
Hawks investigators then informed the couple that their car had been used by a crime syndicate to commit multiple armed robberies, culminating in a final heist and shootout between police and gang members.
Seven robbers and two police officers were killed in the confrontation, and the Onyigbuos’ vehicle was littered with around 20 bullet holes when it was recovered by the police.
The couple has joined a class-action lawsuit against Uber, blaming the ride-hailing platform for the damage to their vehicle and the failure to perform a proper background check on the driver they hired.
Uber told the Sunday Times it was not aware of the couple’s complaint, but stated it was concerned about the incident and was investigating the matter.
Ulrich Roux Attorneys confirmed it is representing 13 clients, including the Onyigbuos, in a class-action lawsuit against Uber.
Ulrich Roux stated last week that he was representing a number of users pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Uber.
The lawsuit concerns a number of violent incidents which occurred via the Uber platform or in an Uber vehicle, which Roux said Uber has chosen to ignore.
He added that it was important to remember that passengers are getting into a vehicle with a complete stranger when using one of these taxi services.
“At the end of the day, when these users entered those vehicles they were doing so under the premise that Uber promises to offer a safe and reliable service.”
“Clearly in these instances that was not the case and there is now a case of vicarious liability,” he said.