Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has condemned a spate of taxi-related rapes and sexual assaults in Johannesburg and has vowed that the owners of any taxis being used by the perpetrators will be dealt with harshly if it emerges that they are registered operators.
Several women have come forward explaining how they've been picked up by men driving a grey or white minibus taxi and attacked.
Peters has promised taxi commuters in Johannesburg that the perpetrators will be found and brought to book.
“In the event we find that the vehicle used to commit the crimes was an operator that is licensed, we’ll deal with that particular individual.”
Peters says her department will cooperate with the police, who are trying to determine if serial rapists posing as taxi operators are targeting women in the city.
Two women have come forward about their ordeals, in the hope that more victims will do the same.
One of the victims was raped in the back of a taxi in front of her ten-year-old son during a four-hour ordeal, while the other was forced at gunpoint to perform oral sex on her attacker.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane has held a meeting with taxi associations in Johannesburg, following reports of a string of sexual assaults on women by taxi drivers.
Nkosi-Malobane has called on more possible victims to come forward and report the crimes.
Nkosi-Malobane is now calling on taxi drivers to respect and protect women.
“The worst is when a mother is raped in front of her child.”
Nkosi-Malobane is urging taxi owners to take it upon themselves to ensure that rapists in the industry are brought to book.
“We can’t afford to have a situation where women get into a taxi thinking that they’re safe only to end up being rape victims.”
Gauteng National Taxi Alliance’s Theo Malele said they are equally saddened.
“We do not, as an industry, support such barbaric acts. We strongly denounce these acts.”
Nkosi-Malobane said most of the rape survivors are now receiving counselling.
Meanwhile, the African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) has defended itself, following claims that it’s not doing enough to speak out on crimes against women.
The ANCWL’s spokesperson Jacqui Mofokeng said work is going on behind the scenes and the league doesn’t need to inform the media on every programme.
“There’s a programme now at the Department of Justice about domestic violence.
We have about six women in the programme that were sent by the ANCWL. It has been advertised so that we can help rape victims.”