Uniform plans for local taxi drivers

Pretoria taxi drivers will get uniform. Photo: Thato Mahlangu.

The Tshwane Taxi association and Tshwane Taxi Industry are planning to introduce a taxi driver uniform to curb commuter abuse at the hands of drivers.

The minibus taxi organisations said this was a reaction to incidents of commuter rapes recently reported in Johannesburg.

“To curb commuter abuse that was reported to be happening in Johannesburg, where a group claimed to have been raped while boarding a Quantum minibus taxi, we are planning to have our drivers in uniform which will help commuters identify them,” said Tshwane Taxi Industry chairperson Motlhabane Tsebe.

Earlier last month, several women reported having been raped by a group of men believed to be taxi drivers in Johannesburg.

The police said they were working had to make more arrests.

Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said three men had been arrested in connection with the rapes.

However police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini disputed this saying no arrests had been made.

A mother reported she had been raped in the presence of her 10-year-old son during a four hour rape ordeal.

She had boarded the taxi on Ontdekkers Road in Roodepoort.

The three rapists, believed to be taxi drivers, forced her to hand over her ATM card and pin and withdrew money from her account several times.

Tsebe said it was important that commuters were able to identify a taxi driver.

The National Taxi Alliance Tshwane Regional Council chairperson Sizani Mahlangu condemned the incident and said commuters should feel safe in taxis at all times.

“The Johannesburg incident really shocked us as taxi owners and members of different associations. Drivers will be severely punished by us and the police if they are found to have violated or abused a female commuter,” said Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said the taxi associations in Pretoria were working with the community police forums and the police to ensure these incidents did not happen.

“We have people patrolling our streets to help commuters catching taxis early in the morning or late at night at places we have identified as danger zones.”

Mahlangu said although no similar crimes had been reported in Pretoria, the police, taxi associations and the metro police were working towards keeping women safe from abuse.

“Not in our name shall such evil acts be committed,” he emphasised.

MMC for Roads and Transport in Tshwane Sheila Lynn Senkubuge said: “We have partnered with Santaco, the Taxi Industry, National Taxi Alliance Tshwane Regional Council and the local taxi associations to spread a message to our drivers that they need to protect commuters especially females.”

Senkubuge said she had seen women being subjected to abuse by taxi drivers who were meant to transport them home safely.

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