South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday condemned acts of “mob justice” carried out by South Africans against illegal miners this week in response to the brutal gang-rape of eight women by suspected illegal miners last week at an abandoned mine near Krugersdorp, South Africa, eNews Channel Africa (eNCA) reported.
“Today, we also saw mob justice,” Ramaphosa admitted during a televised speech at the South African Social Sector Summit in South Africa in Boksburg on 5 August.
“People, because of their anger, going out to face some people, and there is mob justice,” the eNCA quoted Ramaphosa as saying.
The president referred to mob violence against members of illegal mining camps in Krugersdorp starting on 4 August which continued until 5 August.
Al Jazeera detailed several examples of the violence on Thursday, writing:
Thousands of angry residents in the South African city of Krugersdorp attacked a group of illegal miners with machetes, golf clubs and hammers after last week’s gang rape shocked the nation.
“The crowd in their camps in the town of Kagiso set fire to Krugersdorp on Thursday and blocked roads with rocks and burning tires during a protest against the presence of the miners, who are blamed for high levels of crime in the area.
Some were stripped of their clothes and beaten by residents, while others were chased out of their camps and beaten before being handed over to the authorities. The police kept at a distance and fired stun grenades from a helicopter to disperse the crowds.
The attacks on the camps of the illegal miners – popularly known as “zama zamas” – were carried out by local residents. Many of the locals are frustrated by the alleged inaction of the police against the long-standing, heinous activities of the miners in the area. Most zama zamas entered South Africa illegally from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“Residents from several areas on Gauteng’s West Rand went on the rampage against zama zamas following the brutal gang rape of eight women at the Krugersdorp mine dump a week ago,” eNCA reported on August 5.
“Kagiso residents meanwhile say there is not enough visible policing,” the news agency said.
Krugersdorp is a town located within the Gauteng province of South Africa, and Kagiso is a town of Krugersdorp.
South African authorities suspect that a zama zama gang of unknown numbers carried out a brutal one-hour gang rape of eight women at an abandoned mine near Krugersdorp on July 28. The armed gang included the group of women, most of whom were hired models. day, as they attempted to film a music video at the remote location before repeatedly raping them at gunpoint.
“Young people aged 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 eNCA on 30 July.
One anonymous gang-rape survivor described some of the men who raped her as “young boys,” to South Africa. Sunday Times on July 31.
“They kept telling the young boys to rape us and beat them and forced them to do it,” a woman who helped book the models for the video told the newspaper.
“The young boys would take us, one by one, to the bush. 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. It remains unclear how many, if any, of the suspects are responsible for the gang rape, however, as authorities have only charged the suspects with illegal immigration or theft. .
South African Police Minister Bheki Cele told eNCA on July 30 that “DNA testing and identification parades will soon take place to see if any of the suspects were among the group that raped the women.”
“Our labs, which are grinding now, will certainly prioritize them, and they will work on that,” he said.
South Africa has the third highest rape rate in the world after Lesotho and Botswana. The South African government recorded nearly 11,000 rape cases within the first three months of 2022.