Plan to make buses safer for women

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IOL news WA plan to make buses Independent Newspapers Security: Former vice-president Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, left, now the under secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, and Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille announce a shared study to make areas around MyCiTi bus stations safer for women. Picture: Ian Landsberg.

Cape Town - The city of Cape Town and UN Women have announced a R200 000 study to investigate how to improve the safety of women going to and from My-CiTi bus stations.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and former vice-president Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, now the under secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, made the announcement yesterday.

UN Women is a UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

It will fund the study.

“This initiative seeks to secure the access routes to MyCiTi stops and stations,” said De Lille.

“A woman must be able to walk to any bus station.”

The study will focus on women accessing MyCiTi stations in Atlantis.

“An internal transversal project team has been established and is ready to roll out a scoping study, which shall inform the design of the project,” she said.

The team would investigate whether there was sufficient lighting for people walking to the stations in the dark, if special pathways should be built for MyCiTi commuters, and what role neighbourhood watches could play in making the areas around the bus stations safe.

Once the Atlantis study was complete, the city would use it to make other MyCiTi stations more secure.

“This is not a once-off stand-alone project,” said De Lille.

Mlambo-Ngcuka said no city could be considered safe and sustainable unless women and girls were safe to use all its facilities.

In South Africa, despite progressive laws, women and girls still suffered from high rates of gender-based violence.

“These kind of initiatives… create a grass-roots movement of citizens who do not have a high tolerance for gender-based violence,” she said.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, who served as deputy-president from June 2005 to September 2008, likened the fight for gender equality and the empowerment of women to the fight against apartheid.

She said just as a broad-based international movement campaigned against apartheid, people must start to view gender-based violence as morally and politically contemptible.

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