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?

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.

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.

• 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)

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

• Rush to issue the license (the City likes to trumpet its efficiency) and cap your income at R300 (besides traffic fines)
• 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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