The SAPS warned that bogus taxi operators in Joburg East areas are out to rape and kidnap women.
Jeppe and Yeoville SAPS advised taxi commuters to be vigilant at all times.
Jeppe SAPS spokesperson Capt Richard Munyayi confirmed that bogus taxi drivers have been making rounds in the area for a while.
He said women are always victims of these bogus taxi operators.
“Women, in particular, should not board a taxi which only has men inside. We are not saying all men and all taxi drivers are bad but women need to be cautious. A taxi in the middle of the night with only men inside should be avoided by women,” he said.
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Munyayi said it is not easy to differentiate a real taxi from a bogus operator.
“We would like to advise the community, particularly women, to use a transport service which can pick them up from wherever they are and take them to their destination at night.
“People should not misunderstand the SAPS and think that we are promoting the use of alternative transport services. We are not saying that residents should stop using taxis. All the taxis that are operating in and around Johannesburg have stickers on the back to identify which association they are from.
“Commuters are advised to know all those stickers as they differ in colours,” he said.
A 24-year-old woman was a victim of rape which resulted in an arrest.
“She boarded a Toyota Siyaya with her friend at the corner of Main and Delvers streets in Johannesburg central in the wee hours of July 23.
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“The two women were coming from work. They were on their way home to Belgravia and Malvern respectively. Inside the vehicle they boarded was a driver and another man. The two men dropped the victim’s friend off in Belgravia and they were supposed to take her to Malvern. Instead, they drove to Jeppe hostel where two men assaulted the woman and raped her.
“They also robbed her of her money and a cellphone. The suspects then pushed her out of the vehicle. One also exited the vehicle, removed the registration number and then they drove off leaving her behind,” he said.
Munyayi said the woman was helped by a passer-by who took her to the police station.
“On their way to the police station the woman spotted the same vehicle and she managed to write down the registration number. A case of rape was opened and it was transferred to the Family Violence and Child Protection Unit (FCS).
“The investigating officer, with the help of taxi drivers, identified the vehicle and the man was arrested,” he said.
The 29-year-old suspect was charged with rape. He appeared in the Johannesburg High Court and the case was postponed for further investigation. He remained in custody.
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“His accomplice is still on the run. Police investigations are continuing,” he said.
Yeoville SAPS spokesperson Capt Sifiso Mabizela said it’s very difficult to protect residents from bogus taxi operators.
“Many of our residents use public transport. We can’t always be patrolling after each and every taxi but we are pleading with residents to very vigilant,” he said.
The station also had a similar incident in June after two women boarded a bogus taxi from MTN Taxi Rank to Yeoville.
“Women really need to be careful, especially at night. Whenever they board a taxi, they must make sure that they take the registration number of the vehicle and send it to someone they trust. For Yeoville residents the best way is to take a taxi from Plain Street in town,” he said.
Mabizela said some of the signs are there even before the taxi leaves the rank.
“Most of those bogus taxi drivers don’t even know the taxi fare. When commuters find themselves in such situations they must always come up with a plan to get out of the taxi,” he said.
Cleveland SAPS spokesperson Capt Johan Jordaan said he is not aware of bogus taxi operators targeting women in the area.
“The only information we have concerns a Quantum involved in car hijackings and business robberies. Residents should be vigilant at all times,” he said.