Johannesburg taxi rank assault condemned
Johannesburg - The reported harassment and groping of two teenagers at the Noord Street taxi rank in central Johannesburg is a setback in the struggle for women's rights, a trade union said on Tuesday.
"The backward, chauvinistic and ugly scene where two teens were being harassed by taxi rank lumpens, or the dangerous class, should be condemned by all," National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) spokesperson Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
"The action of these lumpens that women should not wear miniskirts in public, including taxi ranks, borders on societal patriarchy and relegation of women into cheap sexual commodities as fostered and entrenched by [the] capitalist system."
The two teenagers were harassed and groped in public on Friday because one of them wore a miniskirt.
The Sowetan newspaper reported on Tuesday that a 17-minute long clip of CCTV footage shows one girl, wearing a black miniskirt, emerging from a shop where a crowd of between 50 and 60 men had gathered.
They follow her, groped her and took photos with their cellphones, the Sowetan reported.
She screamed at her tormentors and occasionally tried to punch them as they groped her. When her friend tried to help her she was also abused.
Johannesburg metro police intervened and accompanied the girl in the miniskirt home. A nearby businessman pulled the other into his shop. Metro police arrived a few minutes later and escorted her away.
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane also condemned the incident.
"We learned with a deep sense of sadness and anger about the abuse of two young women on December 30 last year, because of their clothing," she said in a statement.
"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the animal-like behaviour of those men involved - some old enough to be the young women's fathers - where some males went as far as groping the young women."
This was reminiscent of an attack on another woman, Nwabisa Ngcukana, at the same taxi rank four years ago, said Mokonyane. She was stripped and sexually molested, for wearing a miniskirt.
"This incident not only tells us that women are still facing serious challenges of discrimination and gender-based violence, but also demonstrates that this taxi rank is becoming notorious for behaviour that goes against the moral fibre of the society we are trying to build," she said.