South Africa gang-rape horror sees more than 120 illegal miners cuffed

South Africa gang-rape horror: One person is shot dead and 42 more arrested as police swoop on illegal miners after huge gang carried out sex attack on eight models

  • Shocking crime took place amid the filming of a music video near Johannesburg
  • Eight models aged between 19 and 37 were gang raped up to ten times each
  • Police made 80 arrests yesterday and added another 42 to the total today 
  • One illegal miner was shot dead this morning after two were killed yesterday
  • Authorities have not been able to tie any of the detainees to the heinous assaults
  • But they said the gang rapes inspired a wider, large-scale police operation
  • The miners are being targeted for illegal digging in disused sites, arms trafficking and illegal immigration 

South African police shot one person dead and arrested 42 today, adding to the two killed and 80 detained yesterday, after eight models shooting a music video near an abandoned gold mine were viciously gang-raped by illegal miners. 

The shocking crime took place while the women were filming out in the wilds close to Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg on July 28.

The models and crew, the youngest of whom was 19 and the eldest 37, were raped up to ten times each over several hours by the criminals. 

The gang also systematically robbed the crew and girls of their mobile phones, rings, jewellery, handbags, cash and cameras.

None of the more than 120 detainees has been directly tied to the heinous assaults, but Police Minister Bheki Cele said the crimes inspired police to ramp up a planned crackdown on general criminality in the area, including arms trafficking, illegal immigration and theft of valuable metals. 

‘We need to find those people [the rapists], but this operation is not just to respond to that [incident],’ he said, admitting that his department still did not know who exactly was responsible for the sex crimes.

The incident has further blighted the declining reputation of a nation which is suffering from soaring crime rates and the third highest rate of rape in the world.

More than 300 demonstrators, the majority of whom were women, were pictured marching outside the Krugersdorp courtroom yesterday evening carrying placards decrying the shocking crimes and the startling frequency of sexual violence in South Africa. 

‘We are going to demand that the police station should be placed under administration because the community has reported many crimes committed by the (criminals) but nothing has been done,’ said Zandile Dabula, secretary-general of Operation Dudula, an organisation that protests against illegal immigrants in South Africa.

The organisation was part of the Monday protest outside the courthouse.

‘It is clear that they are failing to deal with crime in this area so they should be placed under administration,’ said Ms Dabula.

South African police are pictured rounding up members of an illegal mining camp near Krugersdorp following a horrifying gang rape of eight women last week

Women protest outside the Krugersdorp, South Africa, Magistrates Court Monday, Aug. 1, 2022

Scores of demonstrators, the majority of whom were women, were pictured marching outside the Krugersdorp courtroom yesterday evening carrying placards decrying the shocking crimes

The man killed by police this morning was shot at a disused mine in Luipaardsvlei, roughly 6 miles from a camp where many of the illegal miners – known locally as ‘zama zamas’ – are thought to be based.

Police said they spotted the man and an accomplice carrying a rifle and pistol, and shot one of them when they went to draw their weapons. The other suspect was arrested.

The miners, who have populated disused mines in the area and many of whom are believed to be illegal immigrants, are blamed for stealing precious metals and various other crimes but the shocking gang rape of the contingent of models last week gave police the impetus to launch a major operation against them.

‘What happened in Krugersdorp is just a shame of the nation,’ Cele told a press briefing on Sunday, adding some of the victims would suffer long-term consequences.

‘Some of those destructions are permanent with those kids.’ 

The latest arrests and the death of one suspected illegal miner today comes after more than 80 were rounded up and hauled into court yesterday, while two more were shot and killed by armed officers. 

National police chief Fannie Masemola and Cele confirmed that DNA samples from the raped women will be used to identify the perpetrators.

Those who are ultimately absolved of responsibility for the sex crimes are expected to face additional charges of illegal immigration and illegal mining.

Eight models were gang raped at gunpoint by an armed gang as they shot a gospel music video near an illegal gold mine in South Africa last week

The shocking crime took place while the a production team were filming out in the wilds near West Village, Krugersdorp, near Johannesburg on July 28

The girls tried to run when attackers burst out of the bush wearing balaclavas and Basotho blankets, but the gang fired a volley of gunshots at them.

The models and production crew were ordered to lay down at gunpoint before more assailants appeared from the scrub.

The gang took the models one at a time into the bush and raped them up to ten times each, while also relieving them of their personal property including phones, cash, wallets, purses, cameras and other valuables.

A 19-year-old victim said she lied to her attacker that she had suffered a miscarriage to be saved from being raped further, according to a Sunday Times South Africa report. 

‘I had no way out but to lie, because they were picking us up one by one. There were others who were raped by six to 10 men,’ she said.

Her 21-year-old sister, who was raped in a ditch, said the girls’ ordeal lasted four hours. 

The woman who had organised the models for the shoot said that she tried to protect them from the rapists and she was violated first. 

The gang rape has shocked a nation which already has some of the highest crime rates and the third highest rate of rape in the world

‘They kept telling the younger boys to rape us and they’d hit them and force them to do so,’ she said. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday said the ‘horrible acts of brutality are an affront to the right of women and girls to live and work in freedom and safety’, declaring that ‘rapists have no place in our society’.

Questions still remain about the incident, with a source telling the Sunday Times that police did not believe the crew and models were there to make a music video as has been reported.

The zama zamas are known for illegally venturing into old, closed-down mines where they burrow into the rock to try gold ore and other precious metals.  

Many die when long-disused tunnels collapse, and others who strike gold are often murdered by jealous rivals.

A resident of Krugersdorp speaking on condition of anonymity told News 24 that news of the sexual violence last week came as no surprise.

She said: ‘[Zama zamas] have long terrorised residents and we hear gunshots at night. It’s not something new. It is an old and ongoing problem that petrifies us all.

‘Women have previously been raped and dragged into the bush. The zama zamas are an old problem, but now we’re at a place where it’s destructive and dangerous.’

South Africa has the third highest crime rate in the world, according to World Population Review, having ‘notably high rates of assaults, rape, homicides, and other violent crimes.’

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