South Africa: Charges dropped in gang rape and robbery case sparks outrage


On Thursday, state prosecutors in South Africa acquitted a group of 14 men who were accused of gang raping and robbing female members of a film crew earlier this year. The verdict sparked outrage among women’s rights groups who have criticised the local police for their perceived failures, said a report by Associated Press.

The incident reportedly took place back in July, in an abandoned mine in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg when men who are believed to be illegal miners were arrested by the police after they allegedly attacked and raped at least eight women who were filming a music video. 

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South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told AP that rape and robbery charges have been withdrawn due to “insufficient evidence”, as DNA results could not link any of the men to the rapes. However, the 14 men accused will now only face charges related to immigration offences as they may have entered South Africa illegally, said the report. 

The country’s Commission for Gender Equality has called on the local police to relaunch the investigation, “We are completely outraged at these latest developments, which means the police have no idea who committed this crime,”said the women’s rights commission spokesperson, Javu Baloyi. He added, “They arrested the wrong people, so the real criminals are still out there,”

When the incident first came to light, it sparked violent protests in townships around Krugersdorp, as the community had accused small-scale miners of committing crimes while working in abandoned mine shafts. Protestors had also taken to these mines and blocked the holes used by these miners, burnt their tents and belongings after they also detained, assaulted and then handed them over to the local police. 

ALSO READ: South Africa: Over 80 men accused of raping 8 women appear in court amid protests

As per the report, at least 80 men were initially detained but the charges were ultimately held against these 14 men. The rapes have reportedly been called as “shame of the nation” by Police Minister Bheki Cele. Another rights group Sisonke organisation has also called for the police to act and staged a demonstration outside the court during the suspects’ appearance. 


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