5 January 2012
The government has condemned the incident in which a group of men harassed two teenagers near Johannesburg’s Noord Street Taxi Rank on Tuesday, apparently because one of them was wearing a mini-skirt.
The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities said in a statement on Wednesday that it was sad that there were individuals who still believed that they had the right to dictate to women what they could and could not wear.
“Child and women abuse deny women and children their birth rights,” the department said. “It condemns them to a life of fear and prevents them from being productive members of society.
“We must work tirelessly towards a day when all women can walk the streets of our cities without fear of being harassed, raped or assaulted. We must ensure that all women are able to walk every street without having to look behind them to see who is following them.”
Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana reiterated her call to all South Africans to join the government in its efforts to rid society of the scourge of women and child abuse.
The department said it was confident that no stone would be left unturned in finding the perpetrators of the crime, which was widely reported on in the country’s national newspapers.
“The two teenagers who were humiliated and subjected to this barbaric act deserve nothing less.”
The incident has also been condemned by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele, who said the country’s taxi ranks were public spaces that were supposed to offer transport and other related services to all, without discrimination.
“The taxi industry has in recent times moved to restore its image and position the sector as a formidable business concern determined to offer a safe and reliable service to the public,” Ndebele said.
“We urge the leadership of the taxi industry to act against the alleged perpetrators as they seek to reverse the gains made to restore the confidence of the people in the industry.”