Johannesburg - Gauteng MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) have condemned the assault of a woman by a taxi driver. Zoey Zothile’s pictures of her bruised and battered face went viral on facebook on Monday wherein she has alleged she was attacked by a taxi driver.
She also posted pictures of her bruised body and also the picture of her assailant who was wearing a white shirt.
“In the white shirt, he kicked me so bad where I had my appendix operation,” read her comment.
Zothile said she and her friend were attacked by a taxi driver while the public watched and did nothing to help them. She wrote on her post: “Today a taxi driver assaulted me because I got off his taxi and took another one that was fast, he kicked and slapped me and also hit my friend... worse part I missed my test!
“Everyone was just watching not doing anything literally seeing a guy beat up a woman in public.”
Zothile said she had opened a case with the police and afterwards the taxi driver wanted to bribe her into dropping the charges.
Nkosi-Malobane said she was pleased that Zothile had reported the case to the police.
“In any instance of this nature it is important that a criminal case must be opened and investigated.
“What is comforting is that she immediately went to open a criminal case against the perpetrator to ensure that he is brought to book and face the full might of the law.
“It is important that the case should be closely monitored to ensure that there is a thorough investigation by the law enforcement officers and that justice prevails as we have done previously,” said Nkosi-Malobane.
She added that continual engagements between the government and taxi associations were key to ensuring that taxi operators conduct themselves in an appropriate manner that is consistent with preserving the dignity of the passengers and the safety of communities.
“It is important that we engage with the association which the owner of the taxi is affiliated to with the view to find a lasting solution and to bring to an end such barbaric acts,” said Nkosi-Malobane.
She also lamented the recent spate of horrific incidents of rape and the killing of women in Gauteng.
“These incidents depict the challenges that young women continue to face in their homes, places of work and generally in their day-to-day lives.
“I am inspired by the commitment and firmness with which the Gauteng provincial government, working closely with civil society organisations, is confronting the scourge of gender-based violence. Such activism is needed at every corner and sector of our society to decisively deal with this demon that continues to rear its ugly head,” she said.
Santaco spokesperson Thabisho Molelekwa, said abuse of women or any commuter was not accepted in the taxi industry.
“There is no reason that can justify why a driver would beat a passenger.
“Through our partnership with Sonke Gender Justice, we continue to criss-cross the country educating taxi drivers to appreciate passengers, especially women who are the most vulnerable to abuse. It is Women’s Month and the action by the driver cannot go unpunished,” said Molelekwa.
Molelekwa said Taxi Associations had codes of conduct which they practised and Santaco, as the umbrella body, promoted good customer care and appreciation of passengers by their drivers.
“We encourage our passengers to engage with us about their daily experiences when using our services. We urge them to talk about the challenges they endure and to do so without fear,” said Molelekwa.
He said passengers were at liberty to talk to Santaco directly through their various platforms of communication.
“We have dealt with many of these cases where necessary steps were taken to protect the passengers,” Molelekwa said.