Authorities charge seven with gang rape

Women’s rights protesters outside a courthouse in Johannesburg last week.

South African authorities have charged seven men with 32 counts of rape following a massive attack on an abandoned mine near Johannesburg.

Last month, eight women were attacked while filming a music video at a mine near the town of Krugersdorp.

Officials say they are illegal miners digging for gold in abandoned shafts.

The men are among more than 60 suspects appearing in court on immigration and gun charges.

All are considered illegal immigrants to South Africa. However, due to the gravity of their crimes, they are now expected to be tried separately.

The suspects were identified by the women during the police queue following the attack.

But officials said the number of accused could rise as DNA testing ends, as many of the men involved were wearing balaclavas when they attacked the crew members who hid their identities.

Outside the courtroom, protesters from civil society groups and several political parties gathered to demand that the men be denied bail.

The attacks sparked outrage in South Africa, with some urging authorities to do more to tackle a spate of violence against women.

Elsewhere, links between attacks and migrants have emerged Angry thugs try to track down foreign miners and burn their homes in retaliation.

Earlier this week, Three rape survivors told the BBC about their experiences, It left them traumatized and fearful for their own lives.

President Cyril Ramaphosa called for help in bringing the attackers to justice in a national address earlier this month.

“These horrific atrocities are an affront to the right of women and girls to live and work in freedom and safety,” Mr Ramaphosa told South African.

“We call on the community to work with police to ensure these offenders are apprehended and prosecuted.”

South Africa’s Women’s Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said the attack had sparked a “moment of crisis” and urged the country to “defend the democratic gains achieved by women”.

Three years ago, Mr Ramaphosa declared gender-based violence a national crisis, and in light of recent gang rapes, campaigners want to declare a state of emergency to prioritize rape and gender-based crimes for speedy prosecution.

In response to the latest attack, chemical castration of rapists was called for at a policy meeting of the ruling African National Congress.

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