Press release: Safe Ride campaign launches at Johannesburg taxi rank

Sonke Gender Justice and the South African National Taxi Association Council (SANTACO) invite you to the launch of Safe Ride, a project aimed at addressing the harassment and sexual violence of passengers by taxi drivers and queue marshals in South Africa.

WHEN: Wednesday, 17th August 2016
WHERE: Bree Taxi Rank, Johannesburg
TIME: 10h00 to 12h00

Reports of gender-based violence in taxis and around taxi ranks have been widely documented in South Africa, with two high-profile incidents occurring at Johannesburg’s Noord Street taxi rank.

In December 2011, a group of around 50 taxi drivers harassed two teenage girls. The men taunted the girls about the length of their skirts, groped them and took pictures with their mobile phones. The police intervened and escorted the girls home. In spite of criminal charges being filed, no arrests were made.

Consultations between Sonke Gender Justice and the taxi industry represented by the South African National Taxi Association Council (SANTACO) have resulted in a partnership – with support from the Royal Danish Embassy and Irish Aid – aimed at engaging the industry (taxi associations, owners, drivers, queue marshals, key government departments and civil society), in a campaign to promote respectful and non-violent behaviour towards taxi commuters, to prevent gender-based violence, to promote gender equality and ensure the safety of women and children in the taxi industry.

“The Safe Ride campaign addresses the critical issue of the sexual harassment of women and girls in taxis and at taxi ranks in South Africa,” says Nonhlanhla Skosana, Community Education Mobilisation Unit Acting Manager for Sonke Gender Justice. “In order to prevent gender-based violence we have to engage men, which is why we are working closely with taxi drivers. We also want to educate commuters about their rights and give women and girls the support to report incidents of gender-based violence in future.”

On SANTACO’s decision to be involved in the campaign, Philip Taaibosch, SANTACO President says, “Taxi drivers are responsible for the commuting of 15.5 million people on a daily basis – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children – within the conversations that take place between taxi drivers and commuters there is real opportunity to bring about change.“

“Gender-based violence is a serious human rights violation. It undermines the health, dignity and security of the women affected. It prevents women from reaching their full potential in society. It also affects their families as such violent behaviour distorts the social relations between men and women. This distorted relationship can help to create a cycle of abuse, which is passed on from generation to generation. Gender based violence is often surrounded by silence. We must put an end to this silence.” Trine Rask Thygesen, Ambassador of Denmark to South Africa.

The campaign will be launched on Wednesday, 17th August 2016 at Bree Taxi Rank, from 10h00 to 12h00.


Nonhlanhla Skosana, Sonke Gender Justice
Email: | Tel: 011 339 3589 | Cell: 078 971 5477

Thabisho Molelekwa, South African National Taxi Association Council (SANTACO)
Email: | Tel:012 321-1043 | Cell: 073 794 0114