Taxi in­dus­try, pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment join hands in fight against GBV

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KWAZULU- Natal Pre­mier Sihle Zikalala during the of­fi­cial launch of the Gen­der- Based Vi­o­lence ( GBV) Aware­ness Road­show – a part­ner­ship ini­tia­tive be­tween the KZN pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and the Kwazulu- Natal South African Taxi Coun­cil ( San­taco KZN). Zikalala also re­it­er­ated na­tional gov­ern­ment’s ap­peal for peo­ple to clean their hands with sani­tiser or soap and wa­ter, wear face masks at all times, ob­serve so­cial dis­tanc­ing and to use a dis­pos­able tis­sue pa­per or their bent el­bow when cough­ing. “To­gether, South Africans can pre­vent the spread of the coro­n­avirus,” he said.

San­taco KZN has do­nated mo­bile hand- wash­ing fa­cil­i­ties for taxi ranks as part of the ini­tia­tive.

THE Kwazulu- Natal Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment and the KZN taxi in­dus­try ( San­taco KZN) have joined forces in the fight against gen­der- based vi­o­lence in the prov­ince.

This part­ner­ship re­sulted in the cre­ation of a joint anti gen­der- based vi­o­lence ad­vo­cacy cam­paign, which was launched by KZN Pre­mier, Sihle Zikalala in Au­gust during Women’s Month 2020.

The prov­ince- wide ini­tia­tive was in­tro­duced at an of­fi­cial event in Inanda, north of ethek­wini Metro – an area specif­i­cally cho­sen be­cause of the con­sid­er­able num­ber of gen­der- based vi­o­lence ( GBV) crimes that have oc­curred there.

Open­ing the event, Pre­mier Zikalala ex­plained that the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment had de­cided to work to­gether with San­taco KZN to “en­sure GBV is fought in all cor­ners of the prov­ince”.

“This part­ner­ship is aimed at en­sur­ing that all sec­tors of society, in­clud­ing taxi op­er­a­tors and com­muters, play a mean­ing­ful role in the fight against GBV. It’s im­por­tant that Gov­ern­ment has the sup­port of all sec­tors of society, in­clud­ing faith- based or­gan­i­sa­tions, youth or­gan­i­sa­tions, tra­di­tional lead­ers and heal­ers to lead the fight against GBV in their re­spec­tive spa­ces,” he said.

Zikalala also vis­ited umth­walume, in Ugu District on the KZN South Coast, where the bod­ies of nu­mer­ous young women have been found in re­cent months. He laid a wreath and en­gaged with com­mu­nity mem­bers, many of whom ex­pressed fears that the mur­ders may be muthi- re­lated, al­legedly spear­headed by a tra­di­tional healer.

DSD ROAD­SHOW

San­taco KZN is cur­rently con­duct­ing a road­show across KZN in part­ner­ship with Nonhlanhla Khoza, KZN MEC for So­cial De­vel­op­ment. These road­show en­gage­ments, which be­gan in Dur­ban’s Pine­town and Chatsworth taxi ranks, target ranks all over KZN to pro­mote tol­er­ance, mu­tual re­spect and a healthy co­ex­is­tence that is free from gen­der- based vi­o­lence.

MEC Khoza hailed the ini­tia­tive as “a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s on­go­ing en­deav­our” against the rise in the sense­less and ruth­less killing of women and chil­dren. She said the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment was “on the right track with its prag­matic GBV pro­grammes”, which in­volve col­lab­o­rat­ing with male- dom­i­nated lead­er­ship struc­tures, in­clud­ing men and boys’ fo­rums, as well as tra­di­tional au­thor­i­ties such as Amakhosi and izin­duna ( tra­di­tional herds­men).

“The taxi in­dus­try has boosted our morale, as they have fear­lessly and openly joined the much- needed ef­fort to pro­mote anti- GBV mes­sages in a pa­tri­ar­chal society so as to achieve be­hav­iour change,” said Khoza.

“Our mes­sage is sim­ple: stop killing women and chil­dren. We saw during the Covid- 19 lock­down how some young women got taken in taxis to be abused and raped. We are dis­tribut­ing stick­ers with a clear mes­sage: a man of in­tegrity does not rape women; a man of in­tegrity pro­tects women.

“We are say­ing a man of in­tegrity will even pro­tect the very wo­man who re­fused to fall in love with him when he pro­posed love to her, be­cause he knows that to­mor­row he will meet an­other wo­man who may be in­ter­ested in him. So, there is no need to be vin­dic­tive when a man has been re­jected by a wo­man,” stressed Khoza.

Speak­ing on be­half of the taxi in­dus­try, Si­fiso Shangase, San­taco KZN Ad­min­is­tra­tor said the in­ten­sion was to visit all 16 taxi in­dus­try de­mar­cated dis­tricts in the prov­ince. “It is im­por­tant that the taxi in­dus­try sus­tains this re­la­tion­ship that it has started with the gov­ern­ment in ed­u­cat­ing our peo­ple about GBV,” ex­plained Shangase.

“Young peo­ple must learn from us how to treat women and must un­der­stand the im­por­tance of mu­tual re­spect, be­cause women are the ones who bare the brunt of bringing peo­ple into the world and nur­tur­ing them. It is there­fore im­por­tant to co- op­er­ate with them and sup­port them in the in­ter­est of na­tion- build­ing,” he added.

Kwazulu- Natal Pre­mier, Sihle Zikalala leads a prayer ses­sion and lays a wreath in mem­ory of vic­tims of gen­der- based vi­o­lence in the prov­ince.

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