By Everson Luhanga
The families of some of eight survivors of the Krugersdorp gang rape ordeal have called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to continue the strong police action to arrest their attackers.
On the eve of Women’s Month , Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, met six of the eight survivors of the gang rape that has shocked the nation, along with their families on Sunday 31 July at the Alexandra police station.
Some of the survivors are singers, models, presenters, and professional make-up artists.
The meeting follows the gang rape and armed robbery of eight women during an alleged attack on a video production in West Village, Krugersdorp, on Thursday, 28 July.
During the meeting it was revealed that some of the survivors were as young as 19-years old, and Minister Cele assured them and their families that police were leaving no stone unturned in the quest to find their attackers.
“These young women are traumatised and are not in a good shape, mentally or otherwise.
” This is why the Gauteng MEC of community safety, Faith Mazibuko, has sent psychologists and councillors to provide mental healthcare to them.
“I have also requested Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, to offer more support and immediately initiate restorative efforts for these young women whose only goal was to earn a living, only to be met with such brutality.”
While investigations into the alleged robbery and rape are underway to find the suspects, police operations to crack down on illegal activities and arrest undocumented persons as well as wanted criminals in the West Village area continue.
These operations consist of multi-disciplinary teams from Crime Intelligence, the Special Task Force, the National Intervention Unit, the Tactical Response Team, K9 units, Flying Squad, Highway Patrol, SAPS Airwing as well as Department of Home Affairs and other private security stakeholders.
The deployment of drone technology to assist officers on the ground to track suspects in the mining area has resulted in the arrest of at least 84 people.
“Two suspects died during a shoot-out with police and while another wounded suspect is recovering in hospital.
All suspects are expected to appear at the Krugersdorp Magistrates court on Monday, 1 August.
They face charges of contravention of the Immigration Act and possession of suspected stolen goods.
Minister Cele has welcomed the mass arrests.
“Police are in the air and on the ground, squeezing out criminals regardless of whichever hole they are hiding in. We know this community has been vocal about criminals making their lives a hell there and we are turning the tide.
“I am also satisfied with the briefing by the detective teams about the progress to fast-track biological evidence processing to link some of the arrested suspects to the rape of the young women,” Cele concluded.
“The Police Ministry remains encouraged by the tireless efforts from the SAPS detectives to ensure a breakthrough in this case.
However, the Ministry remains concerned the gang rape survivors are allegedly harassed by some media houses demanding interviews.
The Ministry discourages these actions which families deem intrusive and insensitive during a traumatic ordeal.
The Ministry will engage the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) on this matter.
(Two pics supplied)
Luhanga is a multi-award-winning journalist. He is news editor for Scrolla.Africa and known in the media cycle as Beast Of News.