South Africa

AUGUST 9 COMMEMORATION

Ramaphosa ‘appalled’ by Western Cape taxi violence as Women’s Day celebrations moved to Union Buildings

Ramaphosa ‘appalled’ by Western Cape taxi violence as Women’s Day celebrations moved to Union Buildings
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Nic Bothma)

While delivering the keynote address at this year’s Women’s Day celebrations, President Cyril Ramaphosa explained that the event was moved from Khayelitsha in the Western Cape to the Union Buildings in Pretoria due to the ongoing taxi strike.

The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) strike began in the Western Cape last week in protest against law enforcement impounding taxis for various offences.

At least five people have died during the violent protests.

“As we celebrate Women’s Day here at the Union Buildings, we are disturbed by the troubling events in Cape Town,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“This year, we were supposed to hold the national Women’s Day celebration in Khayelitsha in Cape Town. However, we had to move that event to the Union Buildings because of the violence associated with the taxi strike in the city.

“While our democracy protects peaceful protest and lawful strike action, we strongly condemn the violence and destruction caused by this dispute.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: W Cape taxi strike Day 6: Ramaphosa cancels Khayelitsha event

The president said he was “appalled” by the killings, assaults and general disruptions that had resulted from the strike.

“Blocked roads lead to blocked business, blocked education and blocked health services, which will have long-lasting effects on life in the city. 

“We must uphold the law and we must solve problems through meaningful dialogue. Today, we think of the women of Khayelitsha and the rest of Cape Town. We think about the men and the children and the families that are trying to go about their lives in peace and safety,” he said.

Speaking to Daily Maverick on the eve of the celebrations, Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya explained that the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture had decided to move the event to Pretoria.

“This change has been necessitated by the ongoing taxi strike in Cape Town, where Khayelitsha has been deemed a high security risk area. The Women’s Day commemoration at the Union Buildings will begin with a symbolic walk from Sammy Marks Square to the Union Buildings,” a department statement said.

From left: Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; President Cyril Ramaphosa; Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi; and anti-apartheid activist Sophia Williams-De Bruyn at the Union Buildings in Pretoria during Women’s Day celebrations on 9 August 2023. (Photo: GCIS)

Government cracks down on gender-based violence

Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced that new regulations relating to gender-based violence would be coming into effect. These laws would see harsher punishment imposed on those who committed crimes against women.

Paying tribute to the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to demand an end to unjust apartheid laws, Ramaphosa said there were severe penalties for those who were convicted of rape. In particular, those found to have committed or been complicit in gang or serial rapes, date rape, marital rape, child rape and incest would now face life imprisonment.

“We congratulate all who have been part of ensuring that these progressive laws are rolled out as soon as possible. Awareness-raising and social behaviour change programmes are taking place in schools, at places of higher learning, in communities and through door-to-door campaigns.

“Effective from earlier this month, no police bail may be granted to persons charged with rape or if the victim was in a domestic relationship with the perpetrator. Such bail applications must be formally applied for in court. If the accused was in a domestic relationship with the alleged victim, the court has to issue a protection order against them before releasing them on bail.”

Ramaphosa said the state was also working on piloting a system in several provinces that would enable victims of domestic violence to apply for protection orders online.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Gender-based violence is a crime against humanity: A tribute to Ntokozo Mayenziwe Xaba

South Africa has a serious gender-based violence and rape crisis. According to 2022/23 third-quarter crime statistics, most rapes occurred at the homes of the perpetrators or victims or locations known to them. Perpetrators were family, friends or neighbours.

Between October and December 2022, South Africa recorded 5,935 incidents of rape. That’s 66 reported cases a day. 

In the same period, 4,992 suspects were arrested for gender-based violence, femicide and related crimes. In the three months, sexual offences increased by 9.6%.

A total of 10,512 people were raped between January and March 2023, the latest crime statistics revealed on Tuesday. That’s an average of 116 a day.

Audience members at the Union Buildings in Pretoria during Women’s Day celebrations and President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on 9 August 2023. (Photo: GCIS)

Women’s sport

Ramaphosa also spoke about introducing gender parity in women’s sport. For years, women’s teams have been earning less than their male counterparts

“The women of our country are excelling in sport. Banyana Banyana and the Proteas netball team made our country proud recently. Banyana Banyana won the African Women’s Cup and reached the top 16 in the Women’s Fifa World Cup, and our netball team played very well and is now ranked sixth in the world.

“As a country, we are very proud of our women as they fly South Africa’s flag high. We need to pay them well and their pay must be equal to that of men and even exceed what we pay men,” the president said. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Tuer says:

    Do you remember when we used the railway to get to work? What happened? oh, all the trains were burnt. I lived in Jhb earlier, there they had a bus service, privately owned, called PUTCO. What happened to them? oh yes, all the buses were burnt. So what did we do? We allowed an unregulated, ill disciplined, mini bus taxi service to take over public transport. I’ve always marvelled at how Toyota and Volkwagon managed to produce the couple of hundred thousand mini busses in such short order!! Still, they managed to provide a decent transport service, didn’t they??? You see the new service didn’t have to obey any laws, so they became very efficient with low cost, undisciplined and untrained drivers. Aren’t we lucky?

  • Grenville Wilson says:

    Appalled is he?

  • John Smythe says:

    At least he said the right things. But is he appalled by the behaviour of his minister of taxis?

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    WoW! Our President is appalled! Who allowed the taxis to operate for years nationwide for YEARS?? The ANC government!!

  • Geoff Krige says:

    We have a president who is often shocked, or apalled, or disturbed about so many terrible things in our country. But unfortunately we have a president who is never active in finding any solutions, in firing or arresting those responsible, or in actually doing anything to fix what is wrong.

  • Ben Harper says:

    Anyone else notice how the Rand has tanked against the US$ since the incompetent anc has spoken out against law and order? Currently heading rapidly towards ZAR 19 to the Dollar

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