gang rape and robbery illegal miners known as zama zama detained
South Afrika – “What happened in Krugersdorp is a shame for the nation,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told on Monday. The incident took place last Thursday when a film crew was preparing a film set in an abandoned mine for filming a music video. The police commissioner said the crew of 22 – 12 women and 10 men – were busy filming a music video when they were allegedly attacked by a group of armed men wrapped in blankets.
More than 80 men suspected of gang-raping eight women and armed robbery of a film crew in the South African town of Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, have been arrested at an abandoned mine. They appeared before the court. While no one has yet been charged with assault, the men have been put on trial on charges of illegal entry into the country and possession of stolen goods.
“The suspects ordered everyone to lay down and proceeded to rape eight of the women and robbed everyone of their belongings before fleeing the scene,” the police said, adding that they are investigating 32 cases of rape.
The suspects are believed to be illegal miners, known as zama-zama, who extract gold from the many closed mines in the Johannesburg area. Locals accuse them of widespread crime in the area.
More than 300 people protested outside the Krugersdorp court on Monday to express their views on the rapes. News of gang rapes and robberies angered the community and women’s organizations in the area, who complained that such incidents were widespread around Krugersdorp.
Police Minister Beki Cele said lab tests on DNA samples from the raped women would be used to identify the accused.
Zandile Dabula, secretary general of Operation Dudula, an organization that protests against illegal immigrants in South Africa, has joined the protest outside the courthouse and says the court should also look to the police, who have been repeatedly reported about the problematic zama-zama group – “We are going to demand that the police station should be placed under administration because the community has reported many crimes committed by the zama-zamas but nothing has been done,” she says.