Original miniskirt victim seeks justice

2012-01-07 16:26

The woman who was stripped and sexually molested by a mob of taxi drivers and street vendors at the Noord Street taxi rank in 2008 blames herself for last week’s similar attack on two teenage girls.

“I feel guilty and I’m still traumatised that maybe I should’ve done more back then, maybe fought harder for my case, then maybe
this would have not happened to these two young girls,” Nwabisa Ngcukana (29) told City Press this week.

She could not hold back the tears when she heard about the attack on Tuesday morning – her birthday.

“I was getting a whole lot of messages that morning and one of them was a link to the story. I got so upset, to the point where I actually started breaking down this week.

“It stresses me out and when I think about it, it all comes back to me, as if it happened yesterday.”

Ngcukana wonders if she shouldn’t have done more to pursue the case against her perpetrators.

“The thing is, when this sort of thing happens down there, you can’t fight for yourself. They all come towards you like termites.”

Lungelo Dlamini, Johannesburg central police station spokesperson, said the two teenage girls who were attacked on Friday last week were tracked down and escorted to lay charges of sexual assault on Wednesday afternoon.

“They are also being kept in a safe house because the investigation is still ongoing.”

Dlamini added that at the moment the identities of the suspects are still unknown.

Ngcukana’s case was dropped by the police investigating officer in 2008, without any formal written notification.

“All I got was a phone call from the investigating officer saying they were closing the case because no arrests had been made and there was no evidence.

“My lawyer told me that it was not right for them to have done that. They were supposed to have written me a formal letter explaining the reasons and everything.”

Ngcukana has now appointed a new lawyer and wants to reopen her case because of her dissatisfaction with how it was handled. She wants justice.

“Countless promises were made: the counsellor promised to me by the department of social development never came.
Taxi associations, the police, gender equality organisations and government officials signed a document promising that the culprits would be caught and the same thing would never happen again to any woman, but look now.

“The taxi heads were also supposed to pay inhlawulo (a damage fee or compensation for something wrong done to you) to cleanse me, but that never happened either.”

Lorraine Sifuba, Gauteng National Taxi Alliance’s head of gender affairs, said: “It’s about time that men also took action about this problem because they know what this industry is like.

“We’d like to take suggestions from them and we can tackle this together. We don’t condone such violence on women, irrespective of the circumstances or whatever they are wearing.”

According to Sifuba, a meeting will take place tomorrow when the Alliance’s offices open to pave the way forward for what should happen next.

“In 2008, we decided to campaign against this thing together with taxi drivers, gender equality organisations, government and police but it was all just blowing hot air and nothing came of it.”

Ngcukana is further angered by the police’s indication that they only want to arrest a few of last week’s culprits and make examples of them.

“I really don’t understand it. I’m angry that they said they will arrest only two of the perpetrators in this case when they can see these men clearly on the CCTV cameras.

“When my incident happened, the cameras were not working but in this case they were working, so it makes no sense.

“And whoever taught ministers the word ‘condemn’ killed us, because that’s all they ever say and there’s no action taken at all.”

Ngcukana says she feels like a fraud when she advises victims of abuse to report their cases to the police because justice was not done in her case.

“I plan to visit those two girls and maybe combining our cases because I was thinking that maybe if all the victims came forward, we could start a movement and fight this kind of hooliganism.

“And I am prepared to lead that movement.”

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