(Adds South African Airways comment)
JOHANNESBURG, March 10 South African taxi
drivers blocked roads to Johannesburg's airport on Friday,
holding up thousands of travellers in the latest protest against
ride-hailing app Uber.
Uber Technologies Inc's service has triggered
protests by taxi drivers from London to Hungary and New Delhi as
it upends traditional business models that require professional
drivers to pay steep licensing fees to drive cabs.
Hundreds of drivers blocked the main highway to Africa's
busiest airport, O.R. Tambo International, causing long traffic
jams on Friday.
"Uber is illegal," Reuben Mzayiya, a spokesman for the
metered taxi business in Gauteng province, told broadcaster 702
"If you want to operate, you must register with the
department of transport and fulfil all the requirements. Uber
doesn't do all those things. It just operates a parallel
structure with a fraction of what we are charging."
The protests have prompted the South African airports
operator, ACSA, to begin talks with airlines about possible
flight delays, spokeswoman Refentse Shinners said.
"We are currently negotiating with our airline partners to
see how we can accommodate them," Shinners said. "We cannot as
yet make any guarantees in terms of those arrangements."
South African Airways urged its customers to arrive at the
airport early to avoid delays.
Uber has attracted more than 500,000 users and 4,000 drivers
across South Africa since its 2013 launch.
(Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Clarence