Bolt suspends 6,000 South African drivers for misconduct, 6 months after Nigerian suspension

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June 5, 2024
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2 min read
Bolt

The news: 

  • Bolt South Africa, which has been the subject of several misconduct and insecurity reports, has reportedly blocked more than 6,000 drivers in the country in the last six months for misconduct. 
  • The company says it’s part of an ongoing campaign to prevent drivers who have been reported for misconduct from using the platform. 
  • Similarly, the ride-hailing platform suspended over 5,000 drivers in its Nigerian market in November 2023 following misconduct and safety concerns. 

This development comes as e-hailing platforms operating in South Africa face criticism for a lack of driver and passenger safety

Bolt has previously been accused of holding its drive partners to low standards in a number of African markets.

With its recent decision to penalise defaulting drivers who violated the company's code of conduct, it appears that Bolt is attempting to turn the tide and build trust with riders. 

It is believed that public outrage and numerous threats of litigation compelled ride-hailing platforms like Bolt to act.

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Per TechCabal, Bolt noted that “The company will continue to permanently block drivers and riders who have been reported for misconduct from accessing the platform.”

In recent times, South African gig drivers have continued to face allegations of misconduct, harassment, and sexual assault. In May 2024, a Bolt South Africa driver was arrested and charged to court for allegedly stabbing two women following an argument over their drop-off location in Cape Town.

The case has resulted in widespread social media outrage about the safety of women passengers across ride-hailing platforms. 

Two months earlier, Emmanuel Mudau, a former Bolt South Africa Platform driver, was charged, convicted, and sentenced to two life sentences and two 15-year terms for raping, kidnapping, and assaulting female riders in Randburg, Johannesburg. Bolt claimed they cooperated with law enforcement authorities in the case against its former driver. 

Following the Mudau conviction, Godrich Gardee Attorneys threatened to launch a civil claim against the Estonian ride-hailing company for failing to protect passengers. Reports indicate that Bolt has yet to receive the civil claim from the firm.

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Bolt, on their part, stated that it has enhanced security in the platform to prevent similar occurrences in the future. 

Some security measures include audio recordings during rides, a driver selfie verification feature, access to emergency response services, and a trip monitoring feature that engages the rider and the driver when the vehicle remains stationary for an extended period. 

Since launching in South Africa in 2016, Bolt has been on a rapid expansion drive in the southern Africa region, launching in Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia over the last eight months to bring its total African market presence to 14.


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