Johannesburg – The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) has committed to joining government and citizens in the campaign to end Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF).
The council made the pledge during a virtual dialogue to mark the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign, held on Wednesday.
The virtual interactive session comprised President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF), representatives from the men’s sector, survivors of GBV, leaders of faith communities and civil society organisations.
SANTACO President, Phillip Taaibosch, used the platform to convey an apology on behalf of the council, to all women, children and disabled people for not giving them the necessary support they deserve.
He said the members of the taxi industry will be taking to the streets to actively participate in the call for men to stop behaving “unmanly”.
“We will be embarking on a 365-day [campaign] where we will start with our own road safety programme.
“All hlokomela taxis will be branded with a message ‘Not In our Name in the Taxi Industry’. We want to send a message that it can’t be that women and children and disabled people are not safe in our vehicles,” Taaibosch said.
Taaibosch expressed the council’s appreciation to Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who has helped taxi owners and drivers understand the impact and value of respecting women, children and disabled people, through training programmes hosted by the department.
“We behaved as if we were not part of South Africa. With the launch of 16 Days of Activism, we call on taxi drivers and owners to change the way and the manner in which we behave, so that we can build a very powerful and respected South Africa – where women feel safe in our taxis and on the road,” Taaibosch said.
Judy Nokwedi from the Black Business Council challenged CEOs and senior managers from all companies to ensure that the issue of GBVF is put high on the agenda.
“Pay parity should be a criminal offence if not implemented. We must teach young boys that violence is a choice… when we play our part, change happens,” Nokwedi said.
GBV survivor Nelisa Grootboom urged women to walk away from abusive relationships, explaining that the abuse never ends.
Psycho social support services
Meanwhile, Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Nomakhosazana Meth said 9 000 victims of GBVF have received psycho social support services early this year.
“Courts are beginning to prioritise cases of GBVF and we see more women breaking the silence by reporting these cases,” Meth said, adding that citizens cannot bury their heads in the sand and must take action.
At the virtual session, President Ramaphosa announced that government is in the process of drafting a Bill on the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Council, which is expected to be in Parliament early next year.