Soweto United E-Hailing Association is building a strong alliance with the South African national taxi association and meter taxis

The Soweto United E-Hailing Association (SUEA) officially launched in Soweto on October 10, 2023. The association represents e-hailing drivers and their counterparts and alliances.

On the agenda, SUEA highlighted the growing concern of violence between the taxi industry and e-hailing and the banning of e-hailing drivers from malls in Soweto. At the heart of the conversation was the launch of three apps created by township entrepreneurs to replace Uber and Bolt in Soweto. According to Mr. Gregory Kgaka, Secretary General of SUEA, these apps come with a lot of opportunities.

One App secured a business deal with Toyota Halfway in Fourways to give drivers a car at an affordable payback rate; unlike Uber, where drivers pay R2 500 per week and R10 000 per month for a car, you don’t own the car.

Thato Ramaila, chairperson of the Soweto United E-hailing Association, says, “Since the launch of the association four months ago, some strong alliances with the South African meter taxi and e-hailing associations have grown, and the relationship with the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has grown. One of the apps Shuma will start their pilot project in Soweto.” 

A virtual meeting was held between the drivers in Soweto and Shuma App, discussing the activation plan for the pilot phase of Shuma in Soweto.

GoodHope, founder of Shuma App, says the app will be formally launched in early February 2024 in Soweto; however, the app is operational in the West Rand, Rustenburg, Potchefstroom, Cape Town, Mpumalanga, and New Castle.

The founder of Shuma App says they seek to improve the service rendered to clients. Goodhope further cites that the pricing poses challenges for drivers; hence, some of them are migrating to a local app, Shuma, because of the pricing, where a client is preferred more than a driver, hence Uber and Bolt service have dropped. Shuma prices will be different based on the service given.

GoodHope says “that the cheap prices of Uber and Bolt are contributors to the violence between taxi and e-hailing drivers; this creates unfair competition for the taxi industry. The e-hailing drivers are not happy about the cheap prices; they just do it because it’s not an  alternative.” 

Midday Mali spokesperson for Santaco says, “They’ve met with e-hailing associations, and they are currently in talks with them.” 

Mr. Ramaila further says that SUEA is in talks with the National Department of Transport to allow the Soweto United E-Hailing Association to be the body that represents the drivers and be able to share data with the department in regards to the issues of permits. As it stands, we have a challenge to the Department of Transport issuing permits of operation for the drivers.”

Thato cites that the issue of permits is the contributing factor to the ongoing violence between the taxi drivers, the meter taxis, and the e-hailing drivers. This will assist with supply and demand, so we won’t just have anyone picking up clients and driving them to their destination.

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