Vicious acid attack on Uber driver
Man sustains life-threatening burns on face and body
UBER and Taxify drivers have an added concern about their safety after a vicious acid attack on one of their colleagues yesterday left him with life-threatening burns on his face and parts of his body.
The Uber driver, 33, sustained serious chemical burns after he was assaulted in the early hours of the morning at Waterval Estate in Northcliff, Joburg.
ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak confirmed that the man had burns to his face and hands and was rushed to Helen Joseph Hospital.
“According to the man, he arrived at his drop-off location and was assaulted by his passenger and a liquid substance was thrown on to him,” said Vermaak.
Samantha Allenberg, Uber spokesperson, said: “What’s been described today is deeply upsetting. We’re investigating the incident and have reached out to the partner’s family to check on his well-being and offer our support.
“We stand ready to help the police with any information needed for their investigation.”
Meanwhile, in a separate incident less than two weeks ago, a female taxi driver was left seriously injured after acid was thrown on her in an alleged hijacking in Maraisburg, west of Joburg.
“The woman later told paramedics that she had been parked outside the residence when she was allegedly hijacked.
“The assailants then threw a chemical, believed to have been acid, on to her face. A nearby resident had apparently noticed the woman and offered her assistance,” said ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring.
On Thursday morning a caller on a local radio station said there was a Taxify taxi driver who had suffered severe burns after being robbed, having petrol poured over him and set alight in Northcliff.
Marilin Noorem, a Taxify spokesperson, told The Star that the Taxify team had not been notified of any incidents of such a nature; however, they are willing to look into the matter.
“As a company, we support the petition to end the violence against Taxify and Uber drivers. This kind of violence is absolutely unacceptable. We can assure the safety of both our drivers and riders is our priority,” said Noorem.
“We are working together with police when needed and providing local support for all drivers. We hope the government will take action soon,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Uber and Taxify Movement, Teresa Munchick, said: “It’s completely barbaric and inhuman that some kind of psychopath could go around and throw acid in someone’s face.
“First of all I think that a lot of the public have become desensitised because there has been so much press around this. If this was happening to any member of the public, the whole country would be up in arms and there would be public outrage,” said Munchick.
“With Uber, we are termed as independent contractors who don’t have any rights, like collective bargaining or minimum wages. If we were employees, we would be entitled to a safe work space,” she said.
The Taxify Movement would be visiting one of the drivers today, Munchick said.