The organisations below were shocked by media reports on the violent attacks suffered by the young women at the hands of taxi drivers at Noord Taxi Rank. The reports also highlighted the fact that witnesses and security guards did nothing to help the women. Some indicated that there was no point in calling the police, as they have not attended the calls when similar crimes took place in the past.
We have become accustomed to reports about rape in the country, but this can not excuse inaction. Sexual violence constitutes a gross violation of women’s human rights and has long-lasting and devastating effects. It should be swiftly condemned by all South Africans – especially those who witness it in public places – and should lead to immediate action from the criminal justice system.
The organisations below applaud the courage of the young woman who dared denounce the practice which seems to be a standard ‘hobby’ for some taxi drivers. We would also like to commend the media who rightfully exposed the crime on its cover pages.
We welcome the condemning declarations of Mr Scelo Mabaso, chairperson of the Top Six Taxi Association. However, we challenge the Top Six Taxi Association to act accordingly. Mr Mabaso urged the women to come forward and lay criminal charges, but we urge that the following concrete actions be taken by his organisation:
- Conduct a thorough investigation to find the criminals among his members and lay criminal charges against them. Reports by the media indicated that some of the taxi drivers had introduced their fingers in the women’s vaginas. These actions amount to rape according to the recently passed Sexual Offences Act, and the drivers should be charged accordingly.
- Investigate the role of the security guards employed at the Taxi Rank who, as per the media and witness accounts, did nothing to prevent the crime.
- Develop and implement an educational campaign on sexual violence and gender-sensitivity addressed to all its drivers.
Media declarations are good only if followed by concrete actions. We expect the Top Six Taxi Association to take concrete measures to stop these types of violations against women by taxi drivers from occurring. These measures would go a long way to prevent further damage to the image of thousands of taxi drivers who – we are convinced – do not share the behaviour of these thugs among their ranks.
Media Contact People
- Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation – Collet Ngwane/Angelica Pino – 011 403 5650
- Sonke Gender Justice – Sgidi Sibeko – 011 339 3589
- Genderlinks – Colleen Lowe Morna or Loveness Jambaya – 011 622 2877
Issued by the following One in Nine Campaign:
- Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation
- Forum for the Empowerment of Women
- Gender Links
- Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre
- One Man Can Campaign
- OUT LGBT Well-Being
- People Opposing Women Abuse
- Sonke Gender Justice
- The Open Disclosure Foundation
- Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme
- The AIDS Legal Network
- Women & Men Against Child Abuse