Taxi drivers reported for kidnapping, rape of schoolgirls in Welkom

A 17-year-old learner in Welkom, Free State, has accused a taxi driver of rape. It is a second similar report after one that was made in May.

In both incidents, the suspects are the drivers of local taxis known as 4+1s. These are mainly old Toyota hatchbacks and sedans. And in both cases, an unknown substance was used to knock out the girls while having their rides home after school.

In the latest case, the 17-year-old says the driver blew a white powdery substance to her face which left her with blurred vision. The substance also rendered her weak and unconscious. 

The pupil told Welkom police she realised what had happened to her after regaining her senses. She said the driver warned her not to mention it.

Captain Stephen Thakeng confirmed the case of kidnapping and rape was under investigation. He said a white Toyota Tazz picked the pupil up from her school gate.

“Inside the taxi, there were three occupants including the driver. [One] passenger alighted at Puma [filling station in Thabong township] and the other at Bongani Hospital.

“The learner got suspicious and asked the driver what direction he was taking. The driver responded by saying he wanted to fetch somebody somewhere.

“The vehicle was travelling [down] Mothusi road when she told him he must stop as she wanted to get home,” said Thakeng.

He said according to the pupil’s statement, the driver did not stop but reached for a powder from the car’s cubbyhole.

The pupil realised when she arrived home that she had been raped. 

First similar rape in May

On Monday, the police released the identikit of the wanted taxi driver and suspected rapist.

Another driver using a blue Toyota Tazz 4+1 is a suspect in the rape of an 18-year-old pupil. The rape took place on May 24, after the girl had taken a ride home after school.

According to the police, a blue Toyota Tazz stopped next to the pupil in Thabong and asked for her destination. He claimed to be going in the same direction.

The vehicle had one more commuter in the front seat, who got off to pick up beer from the overturned SAB truck on their route.

The driver was smoking and drinking beer from a can when he suddenly stopped besides an open veld, police said.

“He [then] covered her face with a black cloth. She tried to fight back as he drove into the veld where he raped her. She was later dropped off in Welkom CBD,” said Thakeng.

After being quiet about her ordeal, the teen finally told her teacher about the rape and that she received threats from the suspect.

No one has been arrested for the rape cases.

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