South African miners charged with raping 8 women

South African miners charged with raping 8 women

South African prosecutors have charged seven self-employed miners with the rape of eight women nearly two weeks ago in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.

Seven more men are to be charged over the attacks on Thursday, officials said.

The rape of the women who were part of a film production crew shooting a music video at an abandoned mine in the area sparked protests and violent attacks against the miners.

Residents accuse the miners of operating illegally and committing many other crimes in their neighbourhoods.

After the rapes, angry residents went on a rampage, assaulting the miners before handing them over to the police and torching the camps where they lived, their belongings and mining tools.

The protests erupted in Krugersdorp and surrounding areas, including Mohlakeng, Bekkersdal and Kagiso.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority, 14 of the suspects were identified by witnesses on Tuesday.

Seven of the suspects were charged with rape, sexual assault and robbery charges in the Krugersdorp Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The remaining seven will appear in court on Thursday, officials said.

Those who were charged on Thursday were in a different court on Wednesday where they were charged with being in South Africa illegally.

There is no way to rule out the possibility of more people being charged and added to the docket as investigations are ongoing, said Phindi Mjonondwane, National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman.

We will be directed by the direction that the investigation is going to take. Illegal mining is rife in many parts of South Africa, such as the Gauteng and Free State provinces, where miners dig for gold deposits at disused and abandoned mine shafts.

According to local reports, miners hold gold illegally and often operate in heavily armed syndicates.

Various community and political organisations have protested outside the court where the accused men appeared on Wednesday, calling for the suspects to be denied bail and for the government to address the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa.