A government department and the ANC Women’s League on Wednesday added their voices to condemning the harassment and groping of two teenagers at the Noord Street taxi rank in central Johannesburg.
The behaviour of the men who confronted the youngsters — one of whom was wearing a miniskirt — did not belong in a democratic society, the department for women, children and people with disabilities said in a statement.
“It is sad that, in this day and age, there are individuals who believe that they have the right to dictate to women what they can and cannot wear,” spokesperson Cornelius Monama said.
The Sowetan newspaper earlier this week reported on a 17-minute clip of CCTV footage it said showed a crowd of men following and groping the girls last Friday.
In the video footage, the miniskirted young woman can be seen screaming at her tormentors and occasionally trying to punch them after they groped her. Johannesburg metro police came to the rescue of both girls.
No case has been opened. Johannesburg central police were in possession of the CCTV footage, Warrant Officer Xoli Mbele said.
“One girl’s brother told us yesterday [Tuesday] that they are not around but the moment they are back they will come forward,” said Mbele.
“We have the footage with us [and] we are looking into the matter. As soon as they come forward our investigations will begin.”
Monama said the department was confident law enforcement agencies would ensure the perpetrators were caught.
“We must work tirelessly towards a day when all women can walk the streets of our cities without fear of being harassed, raped or assaulted,” Monama said.
The ANC Women’s League was “deeply disturbed” by the actions of some men at the taxi rank.
“No man should feel they have the right to touch, abuse, harass or humiliate anyone, especially based on what they are wearing and no man has the right to dictate what a free woman can or cannot wear,” spokesperson Troy Martens said in a statement.
“It is sad that none of the men at the taxi rank stood up to their contemporaries and stopped this incident from happening.”
On Tuesday, Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa condemned the attack.
Four years ago another woman, Nwabisa Ngcukana, was stripped and sexually molested at the same taxi rank for wearing a miniskirt. — Sapa