Taxi drivers join protest against women, child abuse
Uitenhage taxi drivers joined the nationwide protests against violence against women and children on Wednesday, driving in convoy through township streets.
Drivers from the Uitenhage and District Taxi Association drove with headlights on, hazard lights flashing and hooting through the streets of KwaNobuhle.
UDTA is an affiliate of the Border Alliance Taxi Association (Bata).
Placards on the taxis read: "Siyintoni na isono somntu obhinqileyo (What is the sin of a woman)", "Let us be men enough and protect our mothers, sisters and our daughters", and "Why does every woman know another that was raped but no man knows a rapist?"
"By hooting, we are crying out loud, by switching the lights on, we are saying let us be clean and not abuse the other gender, and by blinking our hazards we are calling on all men to join us in restoring the dignity of women and children," said driver Lubabalo Vesele.
He said UDTA had 900 members - 450 drivers and 450 kondis (fee collectors). But only three were women - a receptionist, a cleaner and a fee collector.
"We are calling on all women to join us, including those women whose parents passed on as drivers. The doors are open, if you’d like to join us as qualified drivers."
Vesele said UDTA covered long-distance routes. "We drive routes that take women and children to far-away destinations. When someone loses a wallet, or a cellphone in our taxis, our office is always there to keep gadgets," he said.
"Not in our taxi rank, not in our taxis, not in our homes, and not in our names will crime happen."
The secretary of Sanco in KwaNobuhle, Mzwabantu Hote, applauded the move by taxi drivers. "We need to come together to be a strong force against this evil of crime."
- This article was first published by GroundUp
Angered by the recent spate of violent attacks against women and children in South Africa, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre on September 4 2019. The venue is where the World Economic Forum on Africa is being held, hosting delegates from around the world.