Firstly, we would like to apologize to the Leilahn Albertyn and Lameez Hendricks as well as their families for the stress and inconveniences caused by this traumatic experience. Incidents like these are most definitely not the norm within our business and we are extremely apologetic for the incident that occurred this Sunday past.
We scheduled a hearing with the driver to address the incident. Standard practice dictates that we are to give him at least 48 hours notification to appear. This caused a delay in us giving a formal response. Given the severity and urgency of the situation, the driver agreed to meet us at 12h00 on Monday 3 April 2017, even though he had received only 24 hours notice.
The meeting was held at 14h00 on 3 April 2017 (which was video recorded, as agreed to by the driver) where the driver was given the opportunity to give his view on the incident. The driver was also asked if he would be wiling to take both a drug and a scheduled polygraph test, which he agreed to.
The driver says that he was given the booking details around 3am after dropping at the airport. He first collected Lameez at home around 05h45 then proceeded to collect Leilahn. After collecting Leilahn he left to go to Sea Point and whilst driving he says that he had to stop to clip the seat belt in, as he had forgot to do so. He alleges that it’s during this time that someone had opened the rear tailgate of the car and another person opened the rear passenger side to get into the vehicle. Following their entry into the vehicle a scuffle ensued. He says that by the time he had tried to assist them, both Leilahn and Lameez had managed to leave the cab. The driver then claims that the assailants held a sharp object to his throat telling him to drive off. Whilst driving, he was asked for money and searched. The driver claims that they found his wallet and took his money, after which they told him to stop and the assailants ran away. The driver says that he then proceeded to Goodwood Police Station, where he was told to return to Lameez’s house, as the police van would meet him there. He then proceeded to go and meet the police van.
The driver was then asked if he would be willing to take a drug test immediately, which he agreed to, as he claimed he had not been taking any drugs. We then proceeded to do the drug test, as we had tests on hand. Two tests were undertaken, the first was inconclusive and the second one was positive for Tik. The driver was then called in and informed of the result, he then admitted that he had taken drugs last week sometime. We then informed him that this (his drug habit) puts his whole take on events into question.
We then decided to scrutinize his vehicle’s tracking report more closely which revealed that the driver had gone to Elsies River from the airport, where he spent roughly 90 minutes. In response to this the driver claimed that he went to visit some friends seeing that he had time and no other bookings. This immediately seemed odd and put his testimony in serious doubt.
We then informed the driver that he would be suspended, effective immediately, due to him having tested positive for drugs. He was also informed that he will be contacted for the polygraph test and that he is to please co-operate with the police during their ongoing investigation.
We then had a meeting with Leilahn, Lameez and their families at 19h30 on Monday 3 April 2017 to give them feedback, first hand. We also shared the video of the driver’s meeting with them.
We will be assisting both Leilahn and Lameez with any further information that they may need during their investigation.
All of our drivers have valid PrDP (professional driving permit) licenses, meaning that they have passed a police clearance within the last 2 years. We also have monthly meeting with all of our drivers and perform random drug tests (with the driver’s full consent) from time to time, to ensure that all of our drivers are not on any drugs.
Crime, especially when perpetrated against women and the vulnerable, is intolerable within Rikkis Taxis and The Baker Group. We will be giving our personal attention to assist with this ordeal all the way through to its legal conclusion.
We thank both families for their patience and willingness to assist us in dealing with this matter and we are confident that our additional precautions will assist in bettering all of our clients’ experience going forward.
Mr Waleed Baker