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The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has appointed a mediator to assist in resolving the dispute between e-hailing services companies, Uber and Bolt, and their driver-partners.

According to the statement issued on Tuesday, Advocate Jenine Khan will lead the negotiations between the two companies and their drivers.

The provincial department has described Khan as a reputable advocate specialising in civil litigation, with an interest in alternative dispute resolution.

The advocate’s appointment follows several meetings between the stakeholders and Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure MEC, Jacob Mamabolo, to resolve a long-standing dispute between partner drivers and the companies over the terms of their employment.

This disagreement has led to a strike which ended up disrupting traffic flow in Johannesburg and surrounding areas.

In March this year, media reported that Uber and Bolt drivers took to the streets to complain about their safety and that of passengers, unfair blocking of drivers, unsustainable rates and high commission.

Due to the complexity of the mediation and negotiations, the department said all parties involved agreed that a professionally trained, credible and qualified dispute resolution practitioner should deal with the matter.

Upon the completion of her task, Advocate Khan will hand over a report to Mamabolo.

The mediator’s job also entails ensuring peace and stability between the metered-taxi industry and e-hailing operators.

Khan will be expected to engage with metered taxi operators to ensure their issues are also attended to and that there is harmony in their operations along with the e-hailing service.

Mamabolo said he was confident that Khan was the right person for this important task.

“She comes with the requisite skills and experience that we believe should help us move the process forward. As the department, we will give her all the support and we urge all parties to do the same in assisting her in the work she will be undertaking,” the MEC’s statement read. 

The department said it has prioritised negotiations and engagements as preferred mechanisms of dispute resolution and discourages the use of violence and lawlessness.

“The e-hailing industry is an important mode in the public transport mix, and as such, the provincial government has taken a direct interest in the resolution of these and related issues. We continue to call for all stakeholders to follow the principle of negotiation when trying to resolve problems,” said Mamabolo.

SAnews.gov.za

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