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Bolt SA offered sexual abuse victims food vouchers and month long free rides

A month of discounted rides and food vouchers is what Bolt South Africa has allegedly offered customers who reported sexual assault, abuse, robbery and attempted murder, as scores of women came on Twitter to tell of their horrific experiences while using the e-hailing service.

According to victim Reabetswe Sehulare, who was allegedly raped by one of the company’s drivers, Bolt did not deal with her issue or account for the driver who, they claimed, was not registered with the company.

“I’ve opened a case with the police station in Benoni and they told me to open a case where the incident took place, but in the meantime Bolt has no idea who the driver is,” she said.

“Many South African women have allegedly been sexually assaulted by Bolt SA drivers and the company has literally not been reactive to any of the issues mentioned.”

Sehulare said Bolt had failed to ensure women’s safety, which she said was evident through their response on social media.

This was after social justice activist Atang Swartbooi started a petition which has more than 128 000 signatures to urge Bolt SA to verify their drivers.

Swartbooi said: “What are they doing to ensure the safety of women and passengers in SA? How are they assuring that people are not renting or stealing profiles?”

Bolt driver charged with rape, kidnapping and robbery due in court

A suspended Bolt driver accused of sexually assaulting female passengers is expected to appear before the Randburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

The man was reportedly arrested on 26 February at the Kya Sands informal settlement after a case of rape was opened at the Douglasdale Police Station on 24 February 2022, according to a News24 report.

The suspect made his first appearance in court last week and his case was postponed to Tuesday.

Multiple charges

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the man, who has since been suspended on the e-hailing app, faces charges of kidnapping, two counts of rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder.

During his court appearance on Tuesday, the suspect is expected to provide his information to the court in preparation for his bail application.

Social media uproar

The story drew a lot of attention on social media last week after a woman on Friday took to Twitter detailing her friend’s horrific ordeal of being sexually assaulted allegedly by a Bolt driver.

This led to several other personal accounts by female passengers of alleged incidents of sexual assault at the hands of Bolt drivers.

An online petition against Bolt was since established and circulated on social media, demanding that the e-hailing service improves the vetting of its drivers. The petition has garnered over 100,000 signatures and counting.

Bolt said the driver would only be reinstated on the platform if he is fully exonerated by the courts.

EFF set to protest

Meanwhile, the EFF’s deputy secretary-general Poppy Mailola was expected to lead a protest outside the Randburg Magistrate’s Court against the driver accused of sexual assault.

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