Uber in Cape Town: At City’s mercy

Is the DA-led City “extorting impoundment fees” from UBER / drivers in Cape Town while they delay license approvals?

THE PRINCIPLE:
If you don’t have an operating license, the City can impound your vehicle. To get your operators license you apply at the City’s My-Citi office and pay your R300 application fee. Thats fair.

WHAT’S HAPPENING CURRENTLY:
I’m informed that about 2 weeks ago over 450 Uber cars were impounded in one weekend by the City.

Once impounded, a ‘release fee’ is charged per vehicle:
• R9,500 for 1st offense
• R12,500 for 2nd offense.
• R15,000 for 3rd offense.

WHY THE LONG PROCESSING DELAY:
• There are over 2000 Uber drivers in Cape Town requiring operating licenses.
• One driver I interviewed recently applied in Feb 2015 (16 months ago).
• He’s application has still not been granted as at 28 June 2016.
• Yet in these 16 months his car has been impounded twice.
• In August 2015, 6 months after his application, only125 operating licenses were issued (but not his).
• From Aug 2015 till now, the number of approved licenses has grown to 270 (still not including his).

(This entire admin process appears to be contrary to PAJA – Promotion of Administrative Justice Act)

DO THE MATHS:
• 450 cars x R9,500 = R4,275,000 (R4,2 million)
Thats on one weekend.

THE OPTIONS:
• Rush to issue the license (the City likes to trumpet its efficiency) and cap your income at R300 (besides traffic fines)
Or
• Delay the approval process and your income is unlimited (so to speak).

For this particular uber driver, his license will ultimately cost him R9,500 + R12,500 + R 300.

In my view: after accepting the application, it’s the City’s administrative duty (under Promotion of Administrative Justice Act) to process it without delay and without prejudice to the applicant).

Hence, I believe:

(1) in principle – the City should NOT impound any vehicle and charge impoundment fees for any Uber vehicle whose application has been submitted;

(2) in response – the City should refund impoundment fees paid to it in such instances,

(3) therefore, the City should self impose a moratorium on further impoundment actions for applications in process.

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