Uber was worried about legislative changes

Durban – Riding service Uber said it was concerned about a number of proposed changes to the National Land Transport Act.

The legislation contains a clause requiring e-hailing operators to refuse access to their systems to any driver without the required operating license.

Under the clause, litter carriers and e-reporting companies that do not comply with a fine of up to R100,000 can pay. Directors are also subject to the fine, as well as a two-year prison sentence.

Uber said that drivers in cities in the country where it operates are experiencing major delays in obtaining their permits from their local authorities, or that they simply could not.

"That is why Uber proposes that the implementation of this clause, as well as any sanctions against drivers themselves, be postponed until the current challenges encountered by public transport companies applying for an operating license have been resolved," the company said.

The licensing systems and processes of many of the largest municipalities in South Africa were inadequate, resulting in massive application delays and delays of up to 18 months in the issuance of operating licenses, said Uber's general manager in Sub-Saharan Africa, Alon Lits.

The riding school had more than 12,000 active drivers in South Africa.

The company said that if the backlog and delays around the current system were not remedied before the proposed new clause came into force, about 9,000 direct job openings would be lost, which would have a negative impact on 27,000 people whose income depended on the e – reporting industry.

As an alternative, Uber asked the Minister of Transport to include a clause in the changes that drivers could legally operate if they had submitted fully compliant applications and were in possession of receipts, but the operating license had not yet been issued by the municipality.

Uber also expressed his doubts about a clause in the bill that forces all e-hailing vehicles involved in passenger transport to have special markings to identify them.

"Uber drivers still experience a high level of intimidation and even violence from some other participants in the transport sector, and we are concerned that insistence on vehicle identification marks may result in an increase in these targeted attacks," said Lits.

Uber also asked the Ministry of Transport to review the authority granted to licensing authorities to define the locations or zones in which e-hailing vehicles may operate.

"By reviewing the proposed changes to the law in this way, the Ministry of Transport has the opportunity to show that it is fully committed to building a fair, just and well-transported operating environment for transport," says Lits. – African News Agency (ANA)

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