File picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Johannesburg - The South African Police Service (SAPS) in Gauteng has appealed to women who have been raped by minibus taxi drivers while they were passengers in the taxi to come forward.

A minibus taxi driver appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last week on a rape charge, Gauteng SAPS spokesperson Captain Xoli Mbele said on Sunday.

Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers arrested a 31-year-old minibus taxi driver at the corner of Von Weilligh and Wemmer Jubilee streets at 9pm on Wednesday, Mbele said.

A 23-year-old woman had boarded a minibus taxi from Naturena to the Bree Street taxi rank at 6pm. During the trip, the taxi driver offloaded passengers until she was the only one left.

When it arrived at the Bree Street rank, she requested to get out of the taxi, "but the driver locked the doors and speed off to a secluded place". The suspect was captured on CCTV cameras dragging and undressing the woman "into a bush".

Police officers were dispatched immediately and arrested the suspect. "He raped a victim by inserting his finger and police prevented him from carrying on," Mbele said.

The suspect appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Friday and was being kept in custody.

"We are appealing to the victims that were raped by taxi drivers while they were passengers to come forward. They can contact Sergeant Qondile Mkhabela of the family violence, child protection, and sexual offences unit [at] 076-363-5770," Mbele said.

African News Agency (ANA)