Taxi driver accused of raping passenger

Nana Samela being interviewed by police.

Taxi bosses have vowed to work with police to catch a driver accused of raping a female passenger in Khayelitsha on Monday night.

According to the woman, who is 26 and from Site B, she was the lone passenger in the vehicle, which she says bore a Congress of Democratic Taxis Association (Codeta) sticker, when the driver told her he would “cash in” at the taxi owner’s house before dropping her off. Instead, he changed the route, then stopped the taxi and raped her before leaving her on an unknown road, where a passing motorist picked her up and took her to the Khayelitsha police station.

However, the woman told Vukani that a male officer at the station had stopped her opening a case and had instead told her to go home and return to the station the next day without taking a bath.

Nana Samela, who was at the station at the time, confirms this. She said she intervened when she noticed how the woman was being treated.

“I felt the woman, despite her trauma, was not treated well, and I tried speaking to the officer without any success. I then posted my frustrations on Twitter and someone in the police saw my tweet and the station manager made contact with us to get the woman attended to,” said Ms Samela.

Codeta official Vincent Mtati said they were disgusted to learn of the alleged rape and wanted all details so they could help the police.

“There is too much violence against women, and our drivers cannot behave like this. We want this matter resolved urgently,” Mr Mtati said.

Meanwhile, police have launched a disciplinary investigation into the conduct of the officer.

Provincial commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata, said she had been “horrified” to learn of the woman’s alleged mistreatment at the station.

Lieutenant General Matakata said a senior police officer from Khayelitsha police station had visited the woman’s home on Tuesday and a rape case had subsequently been opened. Lieutenant General Matakata said SAPS could not turn someone away if they wanted to open a case.

“I cannot wait to see the disciplinary process finalised,” she said. “Not only is it embarrassing to know that a victim of a crime left a police station without being helped, the allegations smack of dereliction of duty on the part of police.

“The unfortunate incident happens when the country is battling an alarming rate of incidence of gender-based violence.”

In an unrelated incident, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating after a 39-year-man held at Khayelitsha police station for allegedly beating his girlfriend to death on Monday night, was found dead in the holding cells on Tuesday afternoon.