Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane says the vehicle involved in a spate of taxi-related rapes and sexual assaults in Johannesburg, has been identified.
The MEC says a suspect taken in for questioning was released this morning because there is no evidence linking him to the crimes.
Seven rape survivors have approached police helping identify a Quantam taxi which is said to be frequenting Soweto and Roodepoort.
On Thursday two women spoke to Eyewitness News after they were robbed and raped in two separate incidents on Oxford and Ontdekkers Roads.
Nkosi-Malobane says they have interviewed the owner of the vehicle and police are currently searching for three suspects.
The suspect that was taken in for questioning has not been positively linked to the crime so he was released in the early hours of this morning.— Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane , Community Safety MEC
The owner [of the Quantum] has been interviewed, he made a commitment that he will assist us to get the suspects and we believe through the assistance of the taxi bosses we will be able to arrest the suspects.— Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane , Community Safety MEC
The seven victims that have come forward, six of them have indicated that it was a Quantum linked to the crime.— Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane , Community Safety MEC
Secretary general of the taxi association Santaco, Ralph Jones, has disputed the MEC's statements and says police have not relayed this information to the organisation.
She says she has spoken to the leadership in the industry, which leadership has she spoken to?— Ralph Jones, Santaco Secretary-General
We have plus minus six associations operating on that route and we have made some inquiry and none have identified that vehicle but the MEC says that the vehicle has been identified.— Ralph Jones, Santaco Secretary-General
We will appreciate if we can get that information and its not about the owner here, its about the association because the owner is just an owner The drivers are registered in the office of the association so the responsibility lies with the association to get that vehicle and the driver.— Ralph Jones, Santaco Secretary-General
Malobane says Jones was invited to attend a meeting with industry leaders but failed to attend.
Listen to the full interview below.....
Nkosi-Malobane said all eight women who have come forward after being sexually assaulted in taxis are now receiving both counselling and medical attention.
Nkosi-Malobane said her department will do whatever it takes to support the victims.