Original Research

Self-employment through ride-hailing: Drivers’ experiences in Johannesburg, South Africa

Gorton Wilmans, Naiefa Rashied
Acta Commercii | Vol 21, No 1 | a926 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v21i1.926 | © 2021 Gorton Wilmans, Naiefa Rashied | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 January 2021 | Published: 20 July 2021

About the author(s)

Gorton Wilmans, School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Naiefa Rashied, School of Economics, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: Ride-hailing services have gained popularity in South Africa because of their ability to provide a reliable alternative to traditional modes of transport. However, little is known about ride-hailing drivers.

Research purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the ride-hailing drivers’ job satisfaction levels and the challenges they experienced.

Motivation for the study: This study was motivated by the lack of scholarly information on the experiences of drivers involved in ride-hailing in the context of South Africa.

Research design, approach and method: This study adopted a pragmatic approach through a mixed-method, survey-based design. Fifty-three ride-hailing drivers were randomly interviewed in Johannesburg, South Africa, using a pre-designed and piloted questionnaire. Data were analysed using methods of descriptive interpretation and inductive thematic analysis.

Main findings: A descriptive statistical analysis showed that most ride-hailing drivers provide the service to earn their primary income. Furthermore, a thematic analysis found that ride-hailing drivers felt unsafe providing these services because of the violence they experienced from minibus taxi operators in the region.

Practical/managerial implications: In a country plagued by unemployment, the development of small businesses is an important income-generating opportunity for many. To further develop the employment potential of the growing ride-hailing industry, governments at various levels should provide greater support and safety measures for ride-hailing drivers.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes a unique dataset in exploring ride-hailing drivers’ self-employment, job satisfaction and challenges in Johannesburg, South Africa.


ride-hailing drivers; ride-hailing; self-employment; sharing economy; Uber; Bolt; Taxify; minibus taxi violence


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Crossref Citations

1. Does Job Satisfaction Influence the Productivity of Ride-Sourcing Drivers? A Hierarchical Structural Equation Modelling Approach for the Case of Bandung City Ride-Sourcing Drivers
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Sustainability  vol: 13  issue: 19  first page: 10834  year: 2021  
doi: 10.3390/su131910834