Taxi industry, provincial government join hands in fight against GBV
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.
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.