Three men have been arrested in connection with a spate of rapes by an alleged gang travelling in a Quantum minibus around Johannesburg.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and the National Taxi Alliance revealed today that a minibus and suspects had been identified.
The breakthrough in the case came after a woman was raped for four hours in the back seat of a taxi in full view of her 10-year-old son on Saturday.
More women have come forward since the public outcry, and have reported similar incidents of sexual assaults by taxi drivers.
Nkosi-Malobane said the rape survivors had been taken to a centre and were receiving medical and psychological attention.
The South African National Taxi Council denied claims that the men who were accused of raping and robbing women in taxis were a part of the taxi industry.
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters condemned the attacks and called for background checks on taxi drivers.
“The government of the ANC has normalised this violence against women by not treating the treacherous acts and reports of sexual violence with urgency and precision. This in turn enforces normalised sexual violence against women and in particular, black women,” the party said in a statement.
“It must be put on the record that taxi ranks remain unsafe spaces where toxic, violent, predatory black masculinities are often allowed and given platform to express themselves with impunity. Not long ago, a black woman was subjected to an orgy of violence in Noord Taxi Rank for wearing a short skirt,” Ndlozi added.
The Democratic Alliance also condemned the assault and said it would submit Parliamentary questions to Police Minister Nathi Nhleko to find out how many similar incidents had been reported in each province across the country.
They also wanted all taxis operating on the road to be registered with an association and to be clearly marked with which association they belong to.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has condemned the spate of sexual assaults and said that the owners of any taxis being used by the perpetrators would be dealt with harshly if it emerged that they were registered operators.
Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini could not immediately confirm the arrests.
“This office cannot confirm any arrests, but there is a team that has been established to investigate the cases. Several leads are being followed to arrest the perpetrators,” Dlamini told News24.
He said that police were investigating more than five cases of armed robbery and the rapes of women who had boarded white and grey minibus taxis.