Uber driver to face murder charge after OR Tambo assault victim dies

Uber driver assaulted an old man over parking.
Uber driver assaulted an old man over parking.
Image: 123RF/ Piotr Adamowicz

The Uber driver who allegedly beat up a 71- year-old man during an argument over parking at OR Tambo International Airport is expected to appear in the Kempton Park Magistrate's Court on Monday - on a charge of murder.

The driver‚ a 30-year-old man from Daveyton‚ was initially charged with assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm after the elderly motorist sustained a head injury that left him in a critical condition in hospital.

Zalman Orlianski’s family said on Monday that he died on Sunday evening. His funeral will take place on Tuesday.

"This is incredibly sad news. Our hearts go out to the family and we will continue to stay in touch with them to offer our support‚" a spokesperson for Uber South Africa said on Monday.

"We trust that law enforcement and the judicial systems will do their best to ensure that justice prevails. We stand ready to help police with any additional information needed for their investigation." Uber SA said it has removed the driver from its app‚ after camera footage of the argument was obtained.

Last week‚ the airport said the altercation took place on Sunday September 9 at 10.12am‚ apparently over a parking space in front of the airport terminal building.

“Airport management has viewed video footage of the incident. The video shows that an altercation broke out between a driver in a green SUV and a driver in a gold vehicle. The video shows that the SUV driver got out of his vehicle and kicked the fender of the gold vehicle‚” said the airport.

The driver of the gold vehicle got out and the two men argued‚ then began throwing punches.

The airport said an airport security officer patrolling the lower roadway intervened within one minute of the incident. The driver of the gold vehicle then went into the passenger terminal building and returned with two people and their luggage. While the driver of the gold vehicle was loading luggage into the boot‚ the driver of the green SUV returned and resumed the confrontation.

Punches were again thrown‚ as the airport security officer again attempted to separate the individuals.

During the brawl‚ the driver of the SUV fell to the ground. The driver of the gold vehicle then drove off.

The airport said its security officer could be seen in the video attempting to separate the individuals and resolve matters throughout the altercation‚ which lasted about four minutes. Additional airport security officers arrived on the scene within five minutes.

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