3 arrested in connection with Joburg taxi rapes - MEC

2017-03-24 15:58
Minibus vans. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Minibus vans. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg - Three men have been arrested in connection with a spate of rapes by an alleged gang travelling in a Quantum minibus around Johannesburg, Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said on Friday.

"Three people have been arrested and we hope that victims will be able to identify the rapists," Nkosi-Malobane told News24.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini could not immediately confirm the arrests.

"This office cannot confirm any arrests, but there is a team that has been established to investigate the cases. Several leads are being followed to arrest the perpetrators," Dlamini said.

He told News24 that police were investigating more than five cases of armed robbery and rape of women who had boarded a white minibus taxi and a grey one.

Police believed that the suspects were posing as taxi operators, Dlamini said.

Victims 'a priority'

"Once a victim boarded the taxi, she would then be robbed of her valuables and some of the victims were also raped," he said.

Although she was pleased with the arrests, Nkosi-Malobane said the department's main priority was to make sure that the survivors were getting the necessary counselling at Ikhaya Lethemba care centre in Braamfontein.

"Our priority is on the victims themselves. We have also asked women who have been raped to come forward."

On Thursday, Nkosi-Malobane held a meeting with members of the South African Police Service and leaders in the taxi industry.

Both teams vowed to work together to bring the perpetrators to book, she said.

"We have asked the leadership of the taxi industry to take responsibility... They agreed in assisting to arrest the perpetrators."

Apology

It was still unclear whether the vehicles used during the attacks were registered with any associations.

"It would be shocking that people would take advantage of their own customers, if these taxis are registered."

The South African National Taxi Council's spokesperson, Thabiso Molelekwa, said the organisation was deeply concerned about the incidents.

"We are deeply concerned and would like to humbly apologise to the public that this is happening in our name. What happened is very horrific and I'm failing to find words to describe it," Molelekwa said.

The council has made an appeal to the department of transport to allow it to have regulatory powers which would allow it to hold taxi operators to account.

Read more on:    sizakele nkosi-malobane  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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