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Uber Faces Backlash In South Africa

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt high court will hold a hearing on a recent lawsuit brought against Uberpop by Taxi Deutschland on Tuesday.  San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. The company has faced regulatory scrutiny and court injunctions from its early days, even as it has expanded rapidly into roughly 150 cities around the world.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)

Car hire app Uber has been the target of protests and legal action by taxi drivers around the world and faces bans or crackdowns by regulators in Asia, Europe and the US.

Despite the challenges it keeps on expanding, and it is now making inroads into Africa, where the controversy continues.

In recent weeks, drivers of Uber, the app-based taxi firm, have been at the receiving end of the wrath of Johannesburg’s notoriously tough traditional metered taxi drivers.

Taxi drivers in South Africa have had a fierce reputation dating back to the days of apartheid and have often resorted to violence to protect their routes.

The dispute with Uber drivers began a week ago but tension has been simmering for months.

In the posh business area of Sandton, a passenger was pulled out of an Uber car a week ago and the driver was threatened with whips and batons.

The meter taxi drivers say they are angry with Uber for taking their customers, and making business difficult for them.

“Uber must go,” said Lucas Seale, a spokesman for the body representing metered taxi owners in South Africa’s economic heartland of Gauteng province.



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