Gauteng government partners with UberEats to ‘boost township business

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The Gauteng department of economic development says it has partnered with UberEats to unlock opportunities and create jobs for the youth.

The partnership that will unlock e-commerce market access opportunities for township businesses, enabling them to reach markets beyond the confines of their communities.

The partnership aims to also unlock direct “last mile delivery” employment opportunities for fleet managers as well as direct employment for the youth.

“This Friday, 10,000 South Africans will take over Uber deliveries as we provide them with motorbikes, skills and funding. Thank you ⁦UberEats for sharing our vision. We will pump this economy from all sides,” said premier Panyaza Lesufi.

According to the department, Uber will invest R200m in partnership with the Gauteng government, resulting in the recruitment and contracting of 2 000 motorbike drivers.

However, some Uber owners have expressed unhappiness about the launch scheduled for Friday at Chris Hani Mall in Katlehong, in Ekurhuleni.

Two weeks ago, tgey embarked on a shutdown in protest of declining fees that Uber was charging passengers.

Soweto United E-hailing Association chairperson Thato Ramaila questioned why government was going into the partnership with Uber when it has failed to address the issues related to fees regulation.

“Our members are against the partnership … we have been calling upon the ANC [government] to respond [in assisting us with our demands against [Uber] but they’ve never responded. Now [government] wants to form an alliance with the same company that we’re against. What is that?” said Ramaila.

“Gauteng government is in bed with a company that the [Uber owner drivers] have a problem with. Instead of them engaging with us to find solutions and resolutions on our grievances [against Uber], they are instead partnering with a company that we are against,” he said.

The partnership, according to Gauteng department of economic development, will: expand the township e-commerce footprint to continue to support the growth of township economies and unlock inherent potential due to the demographic youth dividend; access new opportunities through participation in the digital economy and logistics; focus on creating job opportunities through merchant and driver partnerships; and
driving safety as a strategic priority.

In addition to other secured demand in the market, the UberEats partnership will: recruit and contract 2,000 motorbike drivers;
identify and on-board 2,000 township merchants; identify and on-board 2,000 township-licensed liquor traders; and provide access to tools of trade.