JOHANNESBURG — South African prosecutors have charged seven self-employed miners with the rapes of eight ladies practically two weeks in the past in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.
Seven extra males are to be charged with the rapes on Thursday, officers mentioned.
The rapes of the ladies — who had been a part of a movie manufacturing crew taking pictures a music video at an deserted mine within the space — sparked protests and violent assaults in opposition to freelance miners, often known as zama-zamas.
Residents accuse the miners of working illegally and committing many different crimes of their neighborhoods.
Following the rapes, indignant residents went on the rampage, assaulting the miners earlier than handing them over to the police and torching the camps the place they lived, their belongings and mining instruments. The protests erupted in Krugersdorp and surrounding areas together with Kagiso, Bekkersdal and Mohlakeng.
The 14 suspects had been recognized by witnesses on Tuesday, in accordance with the Nationwide Prosecuting Authority. Greater than 80 suspects had been arrested in a police raid at a disused mine in Krugersdorp after reviews of the rapes and robberies emerged.
Seven of the suspects had been charged within the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court docket on Wednesday with a number of counts of rape, sexual assault and theft. The remaining seven will seem in court docket on Thursday, officers mentioned. Those that will probably be charged Thursday had been in a distinct court docket on Wednesday the place they had been charged with being in South Africa illegally.
“We can’t rule out the opportunity of extra folks being charged and added to the docket as investigations are ongoing. We will probably be directed by the route that the investigation is taking,” Nationwide Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Phindi Mjonondwane mentioned outdoors the court docket.
Unlawful mining is rife in lots of components of South Africa such because the Gauteng and Free State provinces the place miners dig for gold deposits at disused and deserted mine shafts. The miners maintain gold illegally and sometimes function in closely armed syndicates, in accordance with native reviews.
Numerous neighborhood and political organizations protested outdoors the court docket the place the boys appeared Wednesday, calling for the suspects to be denied bail and for the federal government to deal with the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.