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I took the crack-of-dawn OR Tambo¬† flight to Cape Town on Monday morning, and because I was on a crazy 36 hour turn-around, Ubering around the Mother City seemed like the most sensible plan for a guy looking to travel lightly, not have to waste time finding parking and who might enjoy a beer or two at dinner. If you haven’t caught an Uber, you should (at least once), it will restore your faith in fare paying commuting and give you some insight into how technology is shaping our lives. Now, before you assume that I might be getting something out of giving Uber a push, they don’t need my recommendation – the truth of the matter is this – their service works and it works well. My real interest was in finding out if this Uber thing was working for the guys (and gals) who have decided to make commandeering a vehicle their full time vocation.

I think I might have pinged an Uber driver at least 7 times during my brief stay in Kaapstad and I made a point of engaging with each of the drivers every time, whether it was a 10 minute around-the-block drive, or a 1 hour stretch back to the airport.

Here is the low down:-

  • Each and every one one of them said in no uncertain terms that driving an Uber vehicle had not only put more money in their pockets, but had given them more flexibility in their lives.
  • Each one of them told me they took great satisfaction in offering a great service to locals and international visitors
  • Each one of them said that they wouldn’t go back to the job they had before picking up a set of Uber keys
  • But none of them owned their own vehicles, which means a large portion of their earnings where going back to “The Boss”

Mr Zuma, is seems you might be willing to re-pay some of the Nkandla refurb monies? I met 7 hard working lekker South Africans who are trying to forge a path for themselves and they could all do with a new Toyota Corolla.

If you play nice, perhaps you can cut a deal and have a “Powered By Nkandla” bumper sticker slapped on the back of each one.

Actually here is an idea – I reckon there might be around 3000 Uber vehicles in Cape Town. I would assume that less than 10% of those drivers own their own vehicle. That is 2700 new Toyoto Corolla’s you can trade off against the unapproved building loan you took from the coffers.

It is highly unlikely that the friendly Uber guys and gal, who drove me around Cape Town early this week, will get to read this blog post, but Thank You – you provided a great service and a few good laughs while we chatted. I sincerely hope your hard work pays off and that you get to own your own cab soon.

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SLEB