Premier condemns sexual harassment at Noord taxi rank

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane has condemned the reported harassment and groping of two teenagers, one of them apparently wearing a miniskirt, at the Noord taxi rank in Johannesburg.

“We learned with a deep sense of sadness and anger about the abuse of two young women on December 30 last year because of their clothing,” Mokonyane said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the animal-like behaviour of those men involved — some old enough to be the young women’s fathers — where some males went as far as groping the young women.”

The two teenagers were harassed and groped in public because one of them wore a miniskirt, reports said on Tuesday.

The Sowetan newspaper reported that there was CCTV footage, 17-minutes long, of a crowd of men chasing the girls near the taxi rank before groping them.

The one girl, wearing a black miniskirt with an animal print top, came out of a shop where a crowd of between 50 and 60 men had gathered and began following her, the Sowetan reported.

In the video footage she can be seen screaming at her tormentors and occasionally trying to punch them after they groped her.

The Johannesburg Metro Police Department had to step in and later accompanied the girls home.

“This is reminiscent of the incident four years ago at the same taxi rank,” said Mokonyane.

Four years ago, Nwabisa Ngcukana was stripped and sexually molested at the same taxi rank for wearing a miniskirt.

“This incident not only tells us that women are still facing serious challenges of discrimination and gender-based violence but also demonstrates that this taxi rank is becoming notorious for behaviour that goes against the moral fibre of the society we are trying to build,” said Mokonyane.

Numsa lends its voice
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) added its voice to the condemnation, saying the harassment is a setback in the struggle for women’s rights.

“The backward, chauvinistic and ugly scene where two teens were being harassed by taxi rank lumpens, or the dangerous class, should be condemned by all,” Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in a statement.

“The action of these lumpens that women should not wear miniskirts in public, including taxi ranks, borders on societal patriarchy and relegation of women into cheap sexual commodities as fostered and entrenched by [the] capitalist system.” — Sapa

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