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Johannesburg - Three years after she was stripped and attacked by taxi drivers for wearing a miniskirt, the taxi industry has finally apologised to Nwabisa Ngcukana.
There was a huge outcry after a group of taxi drivers attacked 29-year-old Ngcukana at the Noord Street taxi rank in central Joburg and sexually assaulted her because she was wearing a miniskirt.
That incident sparked a public outcry. Marches for women’s rights to wear whatever they want were organised at the rank, with many of the participants being women in miniskirts.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) was hauled before the Human Rights Commission.
However, Ngcukana said on Wednesday no one from the taxi industry had ever approached her and apologised for what had happened. Even today, she said, some taxi drivers had not changed and she still experienced rudeness.
On Wednesday, Santaco held an event at the Wanderers taxi rank in the CBD in honour of Women’s Day and invited Ngcukana and her father Samson along so that they could be given a formal apology. Secretary-general Phillip Taaibosch said another reason for the event was to apologise to female commuters for the shoddy treatment they often receive from the taxi industry.
“We acknowledge that we as taxi drivers have been abusive to society and want to say sorry,” he said.
Taaibosch’s words were echoed by Santaco president Mlayedwa Msiza, who said they were aware of women being harassed at taxi ranks. He said they, as industry representatives, acknowledged their mistakes and wanted to encourage all taxi drivers to regard all commuters as human beings.
The industry officials went around giving female commuters sweets and roses, and gave Ngcukana a big teddy bear as a token of their remorse.
Ngcukana said although it had taken a long time for the taxi industry to apologise, she accepted the apology. She said she had wanted her father to receive the apology too, because he was a parent.
Samson Ngcukana had a pained look on his face when he spoke about what had happened to his daughter and said he was there to make peace with Santaco regarding the incident. The 85-year-old father was pleased with the apology.
“I accepted. What has passed has passed. The incident affected me a lot, I was very heartbroken and did not know how to deal with the issue. But now I have let bygones be bygones,” he said.
Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko and City of Joburg MMC for transport Rehana Moosajee also attended the event and helped to give out the flowers and sweets.
l The Parking Gallery at the Vansa offices in the CBD is currently busy with the ReFiguring Women series, in which the panel will discuss how the female body is being used in performance art.
“Locating the body” is the topic of their second talk, and one of the videos that will be shown, titled “Behave or Jump”, deals with Ngcukana’s incident. - The Star