#SafeTaxisNow responds to attacks on women
IN RESPONSE to taxi rape cases reported in Joburg, the Soul City Institute for Social Justice has launched a #SafeTaxisNow campaign.
It is a national taxi charter to create a safe public transport system.
This follows recent reports of a woman who was raped in a minibus taxi in front of her 10-year-old son, and Jeanette Cindi, the pregnant woman who was gang raped and later killed by a taxi gang.
“We felt as a social justice organisation, we cannot just fold our hands and not do anything about it. Those were women’s lives,” said Soul City’s advocacy manager Matokgo Makutoane yesterday.
“The majority of black women are at risk of being sexually harassed and assaulted while commuting in taxis. They are dependent on taxis as a form of transportation and have no other choice,” Makutoane said.
She appealed to South Africans and civil rights groups to contribute to #SafeTaxisNow.
“Just knowing who your driver is, is important for a woman to feel safe. So if the name of a driver is written on the taxi or inside the taxi as she enters the taxi,” she said, it would help, adding that the industry needed regulation.
“However, Santaco (the South African National Taxi Council) told us that there were barriers to regulating the industry. This charter should stipulate the actions the Department of Transport and taxi associations should take to guarantee women’s safety while accessing taxis,” said Makutoane.
Through a series of social media platforms, the institute collaborates with Amandla. mobi, the Soweto Women’s Forum and the DailyVox to advocate transformation.
Tomorrow, Soul City will hold a night vigil at the Booysens Police Station where the majority of victims are turned away when reporting rape cases, according to Makutoane.
National Taxi Alliance (NTA) spokesperson Theo Malele said they advocated an increase in vigilance by the police and drivers.
Subscribing to public transport safety, taxi associations and alliances have said that the safety of women, children and the elderly needed to be protected.
“Every initiative that speaks to the safety of women is more than welcomed by the alliance. We will support the organisation, especially after the gruesome death of the pregnant woman and her friend two months ago, ” said Malele.
To ensure a safe public transport system for women and children, the alliance has been conducting meetings to introduce a technological element to taxi safety, he said.
There were discussions about having a base camera in taxis. “It is important to note that the taxi industry was involved in the apprehension of the seven suspects responsible for the woman’s death.
“This is not a taxi industry problem, but it is more of a societal problem that needs to be addressed,” Malele said.
Meanwhile, Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the Legislature Speaker Ntombi Mekgwe led a human chain around the legislature precinct to highlight the abuse of women and children. This was as the provincial government sought to mobilise men to be protectors of women and children.