Lift in cage on bakkie con­demned

Treat­ment of el­derly woman de­scribed as in­hu­mane, de­mean­ing

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - STAR RE­PORTER AND ANA

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.

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