BY REX MPHISA
SOUTH AFRICA (SA) has remained tight-lipped over videos which went viral on social media exposing the inhumane treatment of some illegal miners.
The suspects, believed to be foreigners mining in the neighbouring country and accused of rape, were forced to undress reportedly by South African officials.
Their nude photographs and videos immediately went viral on social media platforms.
Earlier, South Africa Home Affairs ministry media and liaison officer Thabo Mogkola referred all media questions to the police.
“Please seek comments from the police media team,” Mogkola said.
Zimbabwe’s Consular General in South Africa Melody Chaurura said her office was yet to get information regarding the incident.
“The office is yet to establish facts relating to the nationalities of the individuals affected. There is, however, no doubt that the footage exposes human rights violations. We keep the hope that all relevant players will seek to better understand the circumstances,” she said.
Reacting to the video, South Africa Police minister Bheki Cele said reinforcements would be sent to West Village in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, to help fight illegal mining in the area where the alleged rape incident occurred.
In the pictures and video footages, the suspected miners are seen being forced to lie down naked, while their captors — who appeared to be officials, stand over them.
In other video footages, some of the miners are seen being beaten up by a mob using sticks.
One of the miners is seen falling down during the melee and was trampled upon.
Reports state that some women had been raped recently in the area just before the capture of the illegal miners.
The gang, alleged to be behind the rapes, is also said to have robbed some models of their mobile phones, rings, jewellery, handbags, cameras and cash.
The incident shocked South Africa, which has some of the world’s highest crime and rape rates, renewing age-old calls for the country to punish rapists by chemical castration if convicted.
“What is obvious is that not all of those arrested were guilty of rape and the proper process and humane treatment of suspects should have been followed,” Andrew Masiya of Musina said.
“We have officials who are deliberately ignoring procedures when it comes to people suspected to be foreigners, and this institutional disregard of human rights is sickening.”