Outrage mounted on Tuesday over an attack on a young woman at the Noord Street taxi rank in Johannesburg for wearing a miniskirt.
Meanwhile, taxi bosses have promised to hand over the taxi drivers who assaulted and abused the young woman, Johannesburg metro police said on Tuesday.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the assurance was given during a police raid at the Jack Mincer taxi rank in Noord Street on Tuesday, in which metro police searched for those who took part in the assault.
He said the drivers would be handed over to police on Wednesday.
The Young Communist League (YCL) and the African National Congress Women’s League (ANCWL) described the incident as barbaric and chauvinistic.
”These actions are undermining gender struggles which are a cornerstone of our hard-won freedom and democracy. We believe these actions have no credence and role in our society. We further believe that women should not be viewed as pawns or sexual objects, but as human beings who need to be treated with respect and dignity,” said YCL spokesperson Castro Ngobese.
The ANC Women’s League called on the department of transport and safety to act. ”We call upon the police and metro police to declare Noord Street a hot spot and provide police contact points in this area and a 24-hour visible patrol,” said spokesperson Nomvula Mokonyane.
This was in response to the humiliation on Sunday of Nwabisa Ngcukana (25), when taxi drivers and hawkers at the rank tore off her clothes to cheers from a crowd who said she was being taught a lesson for wearing a miniskirt.
Taxi drivers allegedly put their fingers in her private parts while others poured alcohol over her head and called her names.
Gauteng transport minister Ignatius Jacobs on Tuesday condemned the abuse of the woman and the alleged indecent assault. He called for the leadership of the taxi industry to intervene and work with taxi commuters in exposing the people involved in such acts of indecency.
”This unacceptable practice must stop with immediate effect. It is also the duty of all law-abiding members of taxi associations to work with the police service in protecting women from such misbehaviours,” Jacobs said.
A number of people interviewed on Tuesday at the taxi rank felt women should not expose their body by wearing miniskirts.
A taxi driver named Phineas said that by wearing miniskirts, women abuse men by being ”half-naked”. He blamed lawmakers for the ”sad state” of dressing among young women. ”Before 1994, women wore clothes neatly and properly; now they say they have rights.”
Ebby Phakula of Meadowlands said women should not wear miniskirts as this arouses men and leads to rape and other crimes against women. ”I will never allow my children to wear those skimpy skirts; I will never pay for such skirts,” he said.
Godfrey Makapela of Doornfontein said he did not see anything wrong with women wearing miniskirts. ”Everyone has the right to choose how to dress. It will be improper to dictate to women how to dress.”
Collin Tsie of Rustenburg shared the same view, saying men are quick to point fingers. Those who insult women for wearing miniskirts are living in the past, when women had no rights, he said.
An elderly woman, who did not want to be named for fear of attack, said women should be taught to dress properly. ”The way women dress today provokes men.”
She said women are culturally not allowed to expose their body, especially from the waist downward. ”They should wear like this,” pointing to her long skirts that reached her ankles.
Younger women approached for their view on the issue declined to comment. — Sapa