Cape Town Impounds 65 Uber Cars for Operating Without Licenses

South African traffic police have impounded 65 Uber Technologies Inc. ride-sharing vehicles in Cape Town this month for not having proper permits, city officials said.

“They don’t have operating licenses at all,” city spokesman Jean-Pierre Smith said by phone Thursday. “We can’t give them special treatment. It’s not at our discretion. It’s the law.”

Founded in 2009, San Francisco-based Uber connects drivers of vehicles with passengers via mobile applications on smartphones. The company, which doesn’t own the vehicles or employ the drivers, has also encountered licensing problems in other cities such as New Delhi and Rio de Janeiro.

Uber is in talks with Cape Town officials about what category of license or permit is appropriate for the service, Alon Lits, a general manager for Uber in Johannesburg, said by phone this month.

Discussions with Uber are ongoing, Maxine Jordaan, a spokeswoman for Cape Town’s traffic services, said by phone Thursday. A number of Uber vehicles continue to operate illegally in the city, she said.

Regulators in Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, put Uber into a chartered-services operating license category, which has fewer requirements than metered taxis, according to Lits.

The impounding of the vehicles was reported earlier by Fin24, a Johannesburg-based news website.

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