AN ORKNEY, North West woman had a hellish Mother’s Day when a group of about 15 illegal miners gang-raped her.
The 29-year-old troubled wife had gone to a shebeen to bust her cheating husband when she met her harrowing ordeal in the early hours of Sunday morning. The men dragged the mother of two for a few metres from the shebeen into a bushy area near a hostel in Orkney and beat her up before taking turns raping her for more than an hour.
During the gruesome attack, the men threatened to kill her if she screamed or reported the crime to the police. A pedestrian who had been walking to work found the woman naked and crying at the same spot where her unknown assailants had left her.
“She is still in hospital and traumatised. She is sore from the pain from her uterus. It will take time for her to recover,” the woman’s younger sister, whose name cannot be revealed to protect the victim’s identity, said.
The woman left her house in Muzomuhle township in Vaal Reefs minutes after her husband had gone to work a night shift. She suspected he had gone to his suspected lover from the same township, and she planned to go out and look for him. The husband is known to have a roving eye that has often caused problems in their marriage.
“She wanted to bust him redhanded so she took a knife to protect herself from the zama-zamas (illegal miners) who are known for terrorising the community in the small town of Orkney. When she got to the shebeen, her husband was not there and the owner was getting ready to close at 2am. He threw her out along with other male patrons and locked the gates. They then grabbed her and dragged her to the bushes, where they raped her,” the woman’s relative said.
The family were concerned about her safety as some unknown people had previously enquired about her home address.
Orkney police spokesperson Warrant Officer Elize Kruger said a rape case was opened and no arrests had been made.
“At the moment the information is still unclear because the victim said she could not identify the men who gang-raped her and we cannot confirm if they are indeed zamazamas. The matter is still under investigation,” Kruger said.
Political parties expressed disgust at the incident, calling for authorities to take action against mining companies that have left unsecured shafts which attract illegal miners.
“The law enforcement agencies must be warned that the patience of the community is fading away, and if cases like this are not treated as a priority, the community might resort to taking the law into their own hands. The ANC Women’s League calls on the Department of Mineral Resources, the provincial commissioner of police in North West and representatives of all Chapter 9 institutions mandated to protect human rights and ensure a society free from any forms of gender oppression to convene urgently and find ways to reclaim the area from the illegal miners who are terrorising women in that area,” ANCWL secretary-general Meokgo Matuba said.
Happy Kali, EFF deputy chairperson for the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region, said they would hold a community meeting on Thursday to speak about crime in the area.
“We don’t condone abuse of women and children. We are saying that the culprits must be brought to book, and we are willing to work with police in this matter. We will put pressure on them. These zama-zamas are armed and have been terrorising this community for many years,” Kali said.
Once a thriving town propelled by mining activities, Orkney and nearby Klerksdorp have become ghost towns following the demise of the mining industry.
Many companies shut down, leaving behind shafts with gold remnants that illegal miners prey on. Mining of illicit gold has often resulted in deadly turf wars in the area.