South Africans with machetes attack illegal miners for gang rape

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday condemned the acts of “crowd justice” perpetrated by South Africans this week against illegal miners in response to last week’s brutal gang rape of eight women by suspected illegal miners at an abandoned mine near Krugersdorp. , South Africa, eNews That reports Channel Africa (eNCA).

“Today we also saw how mafia justice was played out,” Ramaphosa acknowledged during a televised address at the South African Social Sector Summit in Boksburg on August 5.

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“People, because of their anger, go out to confront some people, and there is justice for the mob,” the eNCA quoted Ramaphosa as saying.

The president referred to mob violence against members of illegal mining camps in Krugersdorp, beginning August 4 and continuing through August 5.

Al Jazeera described some examples of the violence on Thursday:

Thousands of angry residents of the South African city of Krugersdorp attacked a group of illegal miners with machetes, golf clubs and hammers after a gang rape shook the nation last week.

“The mob on Thursday set fire to their camps in the Kagiso municipality of Krugersdorp and barricaded roads with stones and burning tires during a protest against the presence of the miners, who they blame for the high crime rate in the area.

Some were stripped of their clothes and flogged by residents, while others were chased from their camps and beaten before being handed over to authorities. Police kept their distance and fired stun grenades from a helicopter to disperse the crowd.

The attacks on the illegal miners’ camps – popularly known as “zama zamas” – were perpetrated by local residents. Many of the locals are frustrated by the alleged inaction of the police against the established, nefarious activities of the miners in the area. Most zama zamas entered South Africa illegally from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

“Residents from various areas of the western rim of Gauteng rioted against zama zamas after the brutal gang rape of eight women at a mine dump in Krugersdorp a week ago,” the eNCA reported on Aug. 5.

“Inhabitants of Kagiso meanwhile say that there is not enough visible police work,” reports the news agency.

Krugersdorp is a town in the South African province of Gauteng while Kagiso is a municipality in Krugersdorp.

Women protest outside Krugersdorp, South Africa, Magistrates Court Monday, August 1, 2022. More than 80 men suspected of gang raping eight women and armed robbery of a video production crew in Ming city, west of Johannesburg, appeared in court on Monday. (TUSEN Photo/Shiraaz Mohamed)

South African authorities suspect that a zama zama gang of unknown numbers brutally gang-raped eight women for hours on July 28 at an abandoned mine near Krugersdorp. The armed gang surrounded the group of women, most of whom were models hired for the day, as they attempted to film a music video in the remote location before repeatedly raping them at gunpoint.

“Young people between 19 and 37 were raped, some by 10 men. You can imagine the trauma in that situation,” South African Police Minister Bheki Cele told the eNCA on July 30.

An anonymous gang rape survivor described some of the men who raped her as “young boys” in South Africa. Sunday Times on July 31.

“They kept telling the younger guys to rape us and they beat and forced them to do it,” a woman who helped book the models for the video shoot told the newspaper.

“The young boys would take us to the bushes one by one. The last time they raped me was in front of the other group,” she said.

South African police have arrested more than 80 men, mostly zama zamas, in the week since the July 28 mass rape in Krugersdorp. However, it remains unclear how many or if any suspects are responsible for the gang rape, as authorities have so far only charged the suspects with illegal immigration or theft.

South Africa’s police minister, Bheki Cele, told the eNCA on July 30 that “TUSEN testing and identification parades will soon take place to see if any of the suspects belonged to the group that raped the women.”

“Our labs, which are grinding now, will definitely prioritize, work on that,” he added.

South Africa has the third highest rape rate in the world after Lesotho and Botswana. South Africa’s government has registered nearly 11,000 rape cases in the first three months of 2022.

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