Ride-hailing drivers left alone at the wheel: Reflections from South Africa and Kenya

Elly Otieno, Malte Stein, Mohammad Amir Anwar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter discusses the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ride-hailing drivers in South Africa and some of the mitigation strategies adopted by drivers to overcome the loss of income and livelihoods. Drawing on 26 in-depth interviews with Uber and Bolt drivers in South Africa and Kenya, we show that in commoditised and market-mediated employment relations that characterise the ride-hailing sector, the risk is borne by labour who cannot work from home. We highlight African drivers’ discontent towards the ride-hailing companies and the states’ collective failure to offer any meaningful support for their livelihoods. We also outline the need for better regulatory systems that hold platform companies accountable and to protect workers in the Global South.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 in the Global South
Subtitle of host publicationImpacts and Responses
EditorsPádraig Carmody, Gerard McCann, Clodagh Colleran, Ciara O’Halloran
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherBristol University Press
ISBN (Print)9781529215885
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • gig economy
  • ride-hailing
  • Covid-19
  • collective bargaining
  • Uber
  • regulation
  • South Africa
  • Kenya
  • platform Economy
  • sharing Economy


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