The Competition Commission has dismissed the complaint made by the metered taxi industry against Uber Technology last Thursday. The commission ruled that Uber Technology had not violated the Competition Act, the South African Daily Mail reported.
The commission said: “In terms of the Competition Act, the metered taxi industry has 20 business days to refer the complaint directly to the Competition Tribunal if it disagrees with the Commission’s decision.” The decision comes after the South African Metered Taxi Association lodged a complaint against Uber Technology. The Competition Commission listed the complaints made by the association as:
- Uber operates unfairly in that it secures partnerships with multinational companies and this gives it unparalleled access to the market;
- Uber misleads the public by its notion of job creation for drivers and does not comply with South African public rules and regulations;
- Uber floods the market with vehicles because it does not have to comply with licensing and other public transport regulations;
- Uber charges prices that are below costs.
Chairwoman of the South African Metered Taxi Association, Faye Freedman, said it was likely that they would challenge the decision. Owner of Radio Checker Taxis, Krino Pillai, said the decision was a huge blow to them. He said the meter taxi industry was not as big as the minibus taxi industry and the government did not take them as seriously because they could not bring things to a standstill like minibus taxis could. But this was not the only problem, he said. Some drivers who had been in the industry for more than 30 years were struggling to adapt to the competition presented by Uber.
Uber spokeswoman, Samantha Allenberg, welcomed the decision and said: “Competition authorities around the world have been among the first government agencies to come out in support of innovative transportation platforms. This is an exciting time to be a consumer, and we are pleased to see that the Competition Commission has ensured the public has access to a marketplace that thrives on innovation and change.”
KZN Metered Taxi Alliance chairman, Sizwe Mvubu, said the decision would not affect their business. He said the reason for this was because they had entered into negotiations with Uber after they had a march in April. He said they came to an agreement in August on co-operation.
The Daily News’s sister paper, The Star, reported last year that a woman and an Uber driver were allegedly attacked at the Sandton Gautrain station. This was one of many confrontations between Uber drivers and metered taxi drivers. “As an industry we submitted our application in an attempt to preserve a challenged industry which has long-standing history in South Africa,” said Freedman. “As an industry, we feel strongly that the playing fields need to be levelled – we all abide by the same rules and regulations, or the current stringent metered taxi requirements are removed.”