The South African police have confirmed that there are seven Zimbabweans among the 84 suspects accused of raping eight models in the South African town of Krugersdorp last Thursday.
The suspects have been presented to a court in Krugersdorp, but the Zimbabwean authorities have not yet been notified.
The suspects are accused of raping eight of the 12 women who were recording a music video in an abandoned Krugersdorp mine. As the police moved in to arrest them, two of the alleged rapists were killed in the struggle.
According to South African police commissioner Fred Kekana, in addition to the seven Zimbabweans, the suspects include, among others, seven Mozambicans, four from Lesotho, a Malawian and a Cameroonian. All are believed to be informal miners, who are said to have terrorised the local community for years.
The South African authorities are attempting to ascertain the degree of involvement in the crime of each of the men arrested. The forensic services have been ordered to work rapidly on DNA tests of the suspects.
Furthermore seven hundred (700) tons of gold-bearing material surpassing R2.5 million was found in five (5) of the illegal plants uncovered and twenty (20) cell phones were seized for further investigation.
The suspects are expected to appear in court soon to face the charges that include contravention of Precious Metals Act 37 of 2005, Mining Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996, theft, Mineral and Petroleum Recourses Development Act 28 of 2002 and possibly Immigrations Act 13 of 2002.
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has warned that this horrific crime must not be allowed to endanger the good relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The ANC spokesperson in Gauteng province, Lesego Makhubela, said the mass rape “does not mean we should act violently towards our Zimbabwean brothers”.
In addition to rape, the suspects face charges of illegal mining, violation of immigration legislation, and possession of stolen goods.