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Taxi bombed

A Pretoria taxi driver was set alight and his vehicle was petrol-bombed in Sunnyside, earlier today.

The latest attack is seemingly part of the ongoing feud between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers. There were also two other incidents in which metered taxis were stoned and petrol-bombed in Sunnyside today. The incidents come a day after another vehicle was completely destroyed by fire  in nearby Hatfield on Tuesday. That driver told police he was an Uber driver, but Uber said the vehicle was not registered on their app.

The metered taxi driver, who asked not to be named, said he was sitting at one of the smaller ranks in Sunnyside when a car stopped next to him. He said three men jumped out, broke his windows with rocks and threw a petrol bomb into his taxi before getting back into their car and speeding off.“I caught fire and started running, but I managed to take off my shirt which was on fire,” he said.

The man sustained minor burn wounds to his back and left arm. Bystanders managed to douse the flames in the taxi before it caused any major damage. He alleged that Uber drivers were targeting the smaller ranks where there were fewer metered taxis, making them easy targets. There were two other incidents in which metered taxis were stoned and petrol-bombed in Sunnyside on Wednesday.

Taxi bombed

In the other incidents the metered taxi drivers were not injured and managed to extinguish the flames before any real damage could be done. Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed all three attacks and said cases of malicious damage to property and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm had been opened. Masondo said police suspected the attacks on metered taxis might be retaliation to Tuesday’s incident in Hatfield.

In Tuesday’s incident the driver told police he was stopped by five vehicles, robbed and assaulted before his car was set alight. A group of metered taxi drivers had assembled at the scene in Sunnyside where the petrol-bombing occurred. One, who asked not to be named, said there was a war between metered taxi drivers and Uber drivers because Uber had invaded the ranks and taken away business.

Gauteng Metered Taxi Association spokesperson Reuben Mzayiya said he was aware of the latest attacks on metered taxis. He said he was in a meeting with the transport department addressing the issues. Comment was not immediately forthcoming from the department of transport and an inquiry sent to Uber SA was not answered.

Source – Online

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