Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa on Monday warned that violent clashes between metered taxis and rival E-Hailing company, Uber, could deter tourists from visiting South Africa.
On Thursday night metered taxi drivers allegedly torched two Uber cars in Sandton. Uber drivers reportedly retaliated by setting alight a metered taxi in the same area.
Tourism Minister Xasa said she was concerned over violent incidents and was distressed about the potential negative effect the ongoing acrimony could have on the tourism industry.
“In addition to the needless destruction of property and threat to human life, the general mood of uncertainty implicit in the violence threatens the stability of the tourism industry on which thousands of jobs are reliant,” said Xasa.
“For any domestic or international tourist, the sense of security is as important as the ordinary citizen. However, both the metered taxicab and Uber operators need to bear in mind the fact that whereas as citizens, our relationship with South Africa is not one of choice, tourists can elect to visit one place and not another and one country instead of another.”
The minister warned that if the violence continues between the metered taxis and Uber operators they would eventually all lose customers who are in fear of their own safety.
“In this context,” said Xasa, “it is self-evident that the operators are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.”
The Minister called on the rivals to urgently engage in dialogue to find lasting solutions to their disagreements.
Metered taxi operators are losing market share to the cheaper ride-sharing app service. They are complaining that their rivals Uber do not have the necessary permits to operate taxi services.
“No one’s life must continue to be placed in danger because two operators are in disagreement with one another. This must stop!”