Lift in cage on bakkie condemned
Treatment of elderly woman described as inhumane, demeaning
THE WOMAN whose situation set social media ablaze yesterday has defended the motorist who allegedly made her ride in the back of his bakkie in a cage.
But despite her claims that it was her decision to ride in the cage, the Twitterati were adamant the act was demeaning and inhumane.
The image showing Linda Steenekamp caged on the back of a bakkie in Cradock in the Eastern Cape began circulating on social media yesterday.
The Isuzu bakkie is registered in the name of Johan Erasmus, a field agent who buys and sells sheep and cattle.
Erasmus’s wife Leta said there was more to the picture than met the eye and explained that her husband was merely being a good Samaritan by giving a woman a lift earlier this week.
“There were roadworks and he saw a lady standing and she begged him for a lift as it was very hot. He told her to sit in front but she was too scared and preferred to jump in at the back,” said Leta.
Asked why the woman was seated in a cage, Leta said there was no space for her to sit elsewhere at the back of the bakkie.
She insisted that her husband had offered a seat in front of the vehicle to the “elderly woman”, who was “unknown to them”.
Leta said her husband used the “los hok” to transport sheep for weighing.
She added that she wanted to clear up the matter because the family had been bombarded with calls from the media yesterday.
She said police officers were at their residence to take pictures of the cage.
However, in a follow-up video released on Facebook, Steenekamp said: “I asked for a hike (lift) from the boss… The Mister asked me if I would like to sit in front. And I said no it is hot and I will sit at the back as I am used to sitting at the back.”
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Louis Stone confirmed that police had followed up on the matter and visited the Erasmus residence yesterday.
“At this stage a case has not been opened… at this stage it is a civil matter,” he said.
South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) spokesperson Gushwell Brooks said the matter had been referred to legal services.
ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the driver of the vehicle should be sent to jail as there was no excuse for dehumanising the woman.
“I saw the picture and have asked for its authenticity to be verified. We need to find out where it happened – location, city, town.
“Whoever did this does not deserve to be in society and should be sent to jail.”
Kodwa asked why, if the driver was being sincere, he made the woman sit in a cage.
On Twitter, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa wrote: “We strongly condemn this racist and humiliating treatment of a lady given a lift in a cage.
“It is dehuminising and totally unacceptable.”
Kenneth Mokgatlhe, a spokesperson for the PAC, expressed the party’s displeasure at the woman’s treatment.
He said it was unAfrican and “reminds us of our past struggle and the current economic exploitation and social degradation. We cannot go on like there is no crisis in the country”.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille expressed delight at the motorist being tracked down, but asked that the matter be investigated and “arrest and charge him if it is what it seems”.
We strongly condemn this racist and humiliating treatment
CAGED: This image of a woman sitting in the back of a bakkie has raised eyebrows – and posts on Facebook.