Derick Ongansie is the co-founder and chairperson of the newly established Truckers for Unity SA Cooperative, serving the import/export transport sector. Truckers for Unity SA Cooperative has a membership of 230 depot and freight forwarders at transport/container companies. Ongansie initiated the import/export stakeholders forum with the local government to investigate harmful inefficiencies in the Port of Cape Town. To improve efficiency and become competitive in the international arena again, the Cooperative is suggesting the use of AI. Automation of the Port of Cape Town ànd an inland facility is inevitable. The use of distributed ledgers like blockchain, too, is desirable.
Beyond his work with truckers, Ongansie also used to be an Uber driver. In April 2014, he joined the Uber platform and two years later, he helped Joseph Mswenga to organize the Uber Drivers Guild Cape Town. Mr. Ongansie and others started a series of protests against Uber’s exploitative policies. Membership in the guild grew to 2000 Uber drivers and there was a discussion of forming a platform co-op. Next, Uber “deactivated” (fired) Tsepo Morake and Derick Ongansie in July 2016. Supported by National Union of Public Service & Allied Workers, both men proceeded with litigation, declaring a dispute of unfair dismissal against Uber. By the time they concluded this case with ruling in their favor, declaring them employees of Uber, 5 more drivers were added to their case and they became known as “the Uber 7.”
Uber took the case to the Labor Court, which ruled in their favor. A year later, the Uber Drivers Guild had been destroyed, largely due to internal power struggles. Ànother attempt by Faiza Haupt (the first female Uber driver in SA) and Onganisie to resuscitate the Guild and form a platform co-op failed, also for a lack of unity. But in 2019, Haupt and Ongansie tried yet again to mobilize the Uber driver into a cooperative and initiated the taxi cooperative TRIP. This co-op is currently in the process of being registered.