Minister to join mini-skirt march
Lulu Xingwana, Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, is today expected to join the ANC Women's League-led community education and awareness march against attacks on females wearing miniskirts.
The march is due to start at noon today from the Bree Street taxi rank and end at the Noord Street taxi rank.
It is due to culminate in the handing over of a memorandum of grievances to the equality court in the Johannesburg High Court, Pritchard Street.
The march has been sparked by a harassment incident involving minibus taxi drivers and two girls wearing miniskirts. The women were attacked and assaulted by the taximen at the Noord Street rank in central Johannesburg.
The shocking scenes were caught on closed circuit television cameras and the girls opened a harassment and intimidation case at Johannesburg Central police station.
Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said yesterday that no suspects had been identified or arrested since the incident.
Three years ago Nwabisa Ngcukana was stripped and sexually molested for wearing a miniskirt at the same taxi rank. No one was arrested for the attack on her.
"Through this march we are reclaiming our streets from those who abuse and terrorise women and children," Xingwana said.
"The scourge of women abuse threatens to erode many of the hard-earned gains of the liberation struggle. It denies women their birth rights. It condemns them to a life of fear and prevents them from being productive members of society."
Troy Martens, ANC Women's League spokeswoman, said the march was expected to inspire the formulation of a gender policy document that is expected to be delivered at the ANC's policy conference in July.
Martens said today's march differed from other protests against the behaviour of taxi drivers at the Noord Street rank since it seeks to mobilise civil society and men to be part of a sustained year-long campaign of activism against women abuse.
She said: "The 16 days of activism against women and children is clearly not enough! We need a sustained year-long campaign and dedication from authorities that brings men on board to put an end to this social scourge.
"We have to break the patriarchal mindset that exists in our society."
She said all women and organisations should join the fight since the scourge of abuse cuts across racial, religious, class and political divides.
"Recent incidents of abuse highlighted in the media have spurred on the women's league to say enough is enough; we will no longer tolerate the abuse of our women on the streets or anywhere," Martens said.
Trade union Cosatu, the SA Community Party, People Opposing Women Abuse and women in taxi associations are among the organisations supporting the march.
Martens said the national women's league had instructed all its provincial structures to find programmes and mobilise support for abused women.