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‘Their only goal was to earn a living’: Support for Krugersdorp rape victims activated

Specialised police teams and drones brought in to flush out the suspects

01 August 2022 - 08:22 By TimesLIVE
A film crew was apparently shooting a music video when a gang of illegal miners, dressed in Basotho blankets, stormed the scene, firing guns and attacking models
A film crew was apparently shooting a music video when a gang of illegal miners, dressed in Basotho blankets, stormed the scene, firing guns and attacking models
Image: SAPS

The illegal mining community in Krugersdorp will be flushed out during the search for the criminal gang that attacked a crew on a music video shoot.

This is a pledge by government in the wake of the West Village attack on Thursday that saw singers, models, presenters and professional make-up artists raped and robbed, allegedly by men from the nearby zama zama operations.

Psycho-social support has been initiated for the “young women whose only goal was to earn a living, only to be met with such brutality”, police minister Bheki Cele said on Sunday after meeting with the families of six of the eight survivors at the Alexandra police station. 

“These young women are traumatised and are not in a good shape, mentally or otherwise,” said Cele.

Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko has sent psychologists and councillors to provide mental healthcare to the victims.

Cele said he has asked national social development minister Lindiwe Zulu to offer more support and immediately initiate restorative efforts for the victims.

Police are in the air and on the ground, squeezing out criminals regardless of whichever hole they are hiding in
Police minister Bheki Cele

While investigations into the alleged robbery and rapes are underway to find the suspects, police operations to crack down on illegal activities and arrest undocumented persons and wanted criminals in the West Village area continue.

The 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, police airwing, department of home affairs and 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 while a wounded suspect is recovering in hospital.

All the suspects are expected to appear at the Krugersdorp magistrate’s court on Monday. They face charges of contravention of the Immigration Act and possession of suspected stolen goods.

On Friday police said they had retrieved two unlicensed firearms, explosives and items belonging to the victims.

“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 hell and we are turning the tide,” said Cele.

Although no-one has been arrested yet for the gang rapes, Cele said he was “satisfied with the briefing by the detective teams about the progress to fast-track biological evidence processing to link some arrested suspects to the rapes of the young women”.

Measures to combat the recent spate of violent crimes in the country are expected to be addressed by national police commissioner Gen Fannie Masemola on Monday.

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