security cameras durban taxis

In an effort to increase passenger and driver safety, SANTACO – Durban, has installed security cameras in taxis plying the South Beach and North Beach routes.

The cameras enable taxi owners and managers to monitor via an App what’s happening in the taxi in real-time, the behaviour and driving patterns of the drivers. Taxi owners can communicate with passengers through the app, and more. Owners can even stop their taxis remotely if they detect a problem.

This past weekend 70 taxis were installed with these cameras, target is to have all South Beach and North Beach taxis installed with cameras this December.

Passenger safety has always been an issue with reports of women being attacked by drivers.

Two weeks ago, a 20-year-old woman shared the story of how she and another woman of around her age were assaulted and raped, allegedly by a taxi driver and his friend, in KwaDukuza, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast.

The 20-year-old woman who cannot be named to protect her identity told Durban Sun that since the attack she has been wishing she was dead because her life has been hugely affected by what happened.

She said she was assaulted while the other woman she had only just met at the KwaDukuza taxi rank, was raped at an unknown place around KwaDukuza.

Read also: Four dead in minibus taxi and car head-on crash near Estcourt

She said she arrived at the taxi rank after 6 pm looking for a taxi to Durban but was told there weren’t any. She said she met the other woman who was also looking for a taxi to Durban.

While they were trying to figure out what they would do, a man who said he was a taxi driver approached them.

We told him we were looking for a taxi to Durban and he said there were no longer any available but he was returning to Durban himself and could take us with him. We were relieved and didn’t think much of it because he was at the taxi rank.

He took us to his taxi which had an ND registration. We waited less than five minutes before he drove out of the taxi rank.

She said that after about 20 minutes on the road, the driver picked up someone else who sat in the front seat and seemed to know the driver.

She said they later drove off the roads they were familiar with and that’s when they started panicking.

She said she asked where the taxi was going but was ignored. She told Durban Sun that she didn’t have a cell phone, so she asked the other woman to try to ask for help from someone.

“They stopped the car and that’s when I wondered if it was my day [for something terrible to happen].

“They came to us at the back and took the cell phone and our bags.

“The other guy chose this woman and went to where she was seated and I was taken out of the taxi by the driver.

“I started crying, and the other woman was screaming, asking the man not to hurt her. The driver said I was lucky because he wasn’t going to do much with me. Even though he didn’t rape me, he did a lot of damage,” said the young woman.

She said that the driver cut her neck, thighs and her breast with a sharp knife. She said the other woman was crying inside the taxi but the men didn’t seem to care.

She said that when they were done, they dropped them off on the main road and told them to report them if they wanted to but said they won’t be found.

I don’t know what happened after that, everything was blank and I was bleeding from my neck and thighs. I don’t know what happened to the other girl.

My family said I was helped by a man who said he found me alone on the road and took me home.

She said she opened a case at the KwaDukuza SAPS as well as the local taxi association.

She added that the taxi association said it is aware of her case and has started searching for the driver and the taxi.

This has created so much hate in me for men. I’ve been struggling to sleep or get over what has happened. I could only wonder how the other girl is doing because we couldn’t exchange numbers.

I wonder every day how she is holding up because she endured more pain than me and I wish I had her contact number so I could at least comfort her and we’d go through this together. I have searched for her on Facebook but I haven’t been lucky.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Constable Thenjiwe Ngcobo, said a case of sexual assault was opened at KwaDukuza police station for investigation and the docket was transferred to the KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal family violence, child protection and sexual offences unit (FCS).

Spokesperson for the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), Sifiso Shangase, said they do not tolerate such acts in the taxi industry.

The taxi council is investigating the matter because we can’t have criminals in the industry. We need to find them. Rank managers need to also ensure the drivers are not criminals and all taxis are permitted to operate, including drivers.

Sinikiwe Biyela from Life Line has advised women to be more vigilant and prioritise their safety, especially when they are alone in public transport or feel unsafe.

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