Cops at Bosman taxi rank encourage women to speak up against taunting, abuse
Pretoria - The taunting and abuse of women because of the what they wear in public, especially in taxi ranks, cannot be accepted as normal.
With this in mind, the Gauteng Traffic Police and other law enforcement agencies, in the build-up to 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, visited the Bosman taxi rank in the city to encourage women to speak up against the matter.
Gauteng traffic police spokesperson Sello Maremane said the most important message they wanted to share was for women not to be silenced, and highlighting where they can go to for help.
“Incidents like this are covered in legislation – women should not be dictated to as to what they should wear. Offenders must be reported to us and we will act on it because it is against the law.”
Maremane said law enforcement officers also hated such behaviour and wanted commuters to know that silence was only perpetuating the unspeakable acts, allowing them to continue unabated.
“People need to be aware that we are here to assist them and they need to talk about this. Any form of abuse is not and will never be tolerated, be it sexual, physical or psychological, hence our bid to give out the necessary contact numbers to use.
“If our female passengers come here and are abused by the very same people that we are trusting, it is not right and cannot go on.”
Maremane said continuing with the awareness campaigns was still very important, as some people did not know that there was a national hotline with professionals on standby to assist them.
“If you see a person in uniform, it’s a symbol of peace – so whether it is violence or abuse at home or on the streets, approach that person and they will be able to help you.”
South African National Taxi Council regional spokesperson McDonald Makata said they wanted to move such campaigns to become a regular feature at taxi ranks, as it had often come up that women and children were being abused by their drivers.
Makata said they wanted commuters to be at ease when around taxi ranks, which he described as respectable business places like any other.
“We are calling on all our our drivers that they can’t keep disregarding the issue of gender-based violence and disrespecting women – it needs to stop.
“If anyone is found continuing with these acts, then action needs to be taken immediately and that driver needs to be dismissed on the spot, because we can’t have such people in our midst tainting the entire profession as a whole.”