More than 80 people appeared in court today after eight models were gang-raped at gunpoint while filming a gospel music video near an illegal gold mine in South Africa.
The shocking crime took place on July 28 when a production crew was filming in a forest near West Village, Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg.
The model and crew were raped up to ten times, the youngest victim, a 19-year-old, 10 times and the eldest 37.
The gang systematically robbed the mobile phones, rings, jewellery, handbags, cash and cameras of the crew members and girls.
The incident has shocked South Africa, which has some of the highest crime rates and the third-highest rate of rape in the world, and renewed calls for the chemical castration of convicted rapists.
“What happened in Krugersdorp is a shame for the nation,” Police Minister Veki Selle told a press conference on Monday, adding that some of the victims would suffer long-term consequences.
“Some of the destruction is permanent with those children,” he said.
Police blamed illegal immigrants working in the mine – known locally as Jama Jama – and arrested 84 people during clashes in the area.
Two more suspects were killed in the shootout with the police and one was injured and taken to a local hospital, police said.
Those arrested on charges of illegally entering the country and carrying stolen goods have started appearing in court on Monday.
National police chief Fanny Masemola said investigations would be carried out to determine whether the suspects were involved in the rape.
No one has been charged with gang rape so far.
Eight models were gang-raped at gunpoint by an armed gang while filming a gospel music video near an illegal gold mine in South Africa.
South African police services killed two illegal miners and wounded another in a shootout, but 17 escaped. Police have also arrested 65 other illegal miners in the area on suspicion of immigration offenses as they launch a massive manhunt for gang rapes in the jungle.
The shocking crime happened on July 28 when a production crew was filming in a forest near West Village in Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg.
As there are several other illegal mines in the crime scene, it is believed that the sound of the music attracted the attention of the illegal miners.
There were 12 women and 10 men involved in the film shoot and all the models were from nearby Johannesburg and are believed to have been hired for the day.
As the attackers emerged from the bush wearing balaclavas and Basotho blankets, the girls tried to escape but were shot by the gang.
The models and production crew were ordered to lie down and the gang whistled and ten other men in balaclavas emerged from the scrubs.
As the robbery continued, the gang took the models one by one into the bush and gang-raped them up to ten times before returning for the next victim.
When South African police services arrived on the scene the gunmen opened fire and shot dead two illegal miners and wounded another but 17 escaped.
Police have also arrested 65 other illegal miners in the area on suspicion of immigration offenses as they launch a massive manhunt for gang rapes in the jungle.
The Sunday Times South Africa reports that the 19-year-old victim told how she lied to her attacker about having an abortion.
‘I had no choice but to lie, because they were picking us off one by one. There were others who were raped by 6 to 10 people,’ she said.
Her 21-year-old sister, who was gang-raped in the pit, said the girls’ ordeal lasted for four hours.
The woman who organized the models for the shoot said that she was abused first when she tried to protect herself from the rapists.
‘They asked the little boys to rape us and they beat them and forced them to do it,’ she said.
A small group of protesters gathered outside the court on Monday demanding speedy justice.
According to an AFP journalist, some carried signs reading ‘No bail for rapists’, ‘I am another’ and ‘My body is not a crime scene’.
The incident has fueled an ongoing debate over whether to impose chemical castration on rapists.
It has also put pressure on Saleh, with critics arguing that law enforcement agencies are unable to tackle crime in the country, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world and has recently been plagued by deadly shootings.
In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said “horrific acts of brutality are a violation of the right of women and girls to live and work in freedom and safety” as he declared that ‘rapists have no place in our society’.
While questions about the incident still remain, a source told The Sunday Times that police did not believe the crew and models were there to make the music video.
Gold mines date back to 1887 when a rich seam was struck in the town of Witwatersrand and Krugersdorp where West Village emerged as a boom town.
Police spokeswoman Brigadier Brenda Muridil confirmed that as of Friday evening, 65 potential suspects had been arrested for violating immigration laws.
The incident has shocked South Africa, with some of the highest crime rates and the third highest rate of rape in the world, and renewed calls for the chemical castration of convicted rapists.
She said that during the operation, unlicensed weapons, explosives and goods were seized for the victims, but the identity of the other 17 men could not be identified.
Police Minister Bheki Sale had earlier informed that three people had been arrested and the police said that they are looking for other suspects.
He confirmed that the police are investigating 32 cases of rape and armed robbery and said that the women have been taken to a hospital or a safe place.
Their distraught parents were contacted to evacuate and pick up the girls.
He said: ‘The operation will continue until all the suspects are found and the response will be severe to show the state that the protection of our young women is clear,’ Sele said.
‘Many of the men were also left naked or wearing only their underpants.’
The minister said that the police have carried out several successful operations in which they have shut down operations in illegal mines where gold is mined mainly by illegal immigrants.
They are known as Jama Jama and are extremely dangerous, terrorizing, raping and robbing locals. There are frequent gunfights with the police.
They illegally go into old closed mines and try to fall into the rock and find any gold that can be a lucrative operation.
But many die fighting in collapsing tunnels or when a mine strikes a rich man.
Police Minister Bheki Sale confirmed that 32 cases of rape and armed robbery are being investigated.
A resident of Krugersdorp’s West Village, who spoke to News 24 on condition of anonymity, said the attack was not a surprise.
She said: ‘They have been terrorizing residents for a long time and we heard gunshots during the night. This is not a new thing. This is a chronic and ongoing problem that scares us all.
“The women were raped and dragged into the bush before. Zama Zama’s is an old problem, but now we are in a place where it is destructive and dangerous.’
The villagers said that the illegal ownership of the old mine and the use of it for entertainment and other purposes by the local residents were fighting each other over the illegal mining.
He added: ‘There’s a lot of killing and fights and they fight and kill each other. Every morning you see their dead bodies by the side of the road. It will never stop’.
According to the World Population Review, South Africa has the third highest crime rate in the world, with ‘high rates of assault, rape, murder and other violent crimes.’