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Uber's security force in South Africa wears bulletproof vestsThe ride-hailing giant hires a security firm called Hi-Risk to deal with rampant attacks against Uber drivers in the country.
I'm Dara Kerr. I cover the on demand economy including Uber. I'm Richard Nieva. I cover Google and Facebook. We actually went to Africa for another story but while we were there we started talking to Uber drivers in Johannesburg and later in Nairobi. Before we got there we already heard of violence between taxi drivers and Uber drivers. One driver's car was set on fire in June. That driver died two weeks ago. Taxi drivers are angry because of extremely low fares offered by Uber. They say Uber is killing their business. We asked Uber drivers what Uber is doing to protect them and they told us about a security firm Uber hired called High Risk security. We went to this train station in Johannesburg, and found the security guards. They refused to let us take their photos, but I can tell you that they were dressed in all black military gear with bulletproof vests. They're intimidating to look at, much less to approach. But we did, and they were actually pretty nice. We learned that when you hail an Uber at that station, the app will direct you to where the security guards are, far away from the taxi stand, to make sure riders and drivers are protected. We talked to this Uber driver who told us that his friend was hospitalized after he was attacked with an iron by taxi drivers. He said he's had friends who have quit driving for Uber because of the violence. We also talked to a taxi driver who told us he's more mad at Uber than at it's drivers. He basically said it's a western company that's come in and hurt poor people. We have a lot more details in our story. Meet Uber's private security firm in South Africa. Check it out.