The woman who was allegedly raped by a group of about 15 illegal miners in the North West on Mother’s Day is considering dropping the case out of fear her family’s safety.
She says police failed to take photos of the crime scene or collect critical DNA evidence from it, which by now might have been washed away by the recent rains.
The married mother of two said police have not guaranteed her safety from the feared illegal miners, who have been terrorising her community of Muzimuhle and surrounding areas in Orkney and Klerksdorp.
The police are yet to interview any key witnesses, such as the owner of the shebeen in James Motlatsi Hostel where the woman was thrown out together with her soon-to-be attackers minutes before she was dragged to a nearby bush and raped.
She had gone to the shebeen hoping to catch her cheating husband but its owner was ready to close for the night when she arrived.
“My panties, tights and belt are probably still at the spot where they raped me. They were so drunk that they did not care where they ejaculated and their DNA was left there but chances are it has now washed away because the police have not gone to the crime scene,” the 29-year-old woman said.
The shebeen owner, who only wants to be identified as Michael, confirmed that police have not yet interviewed him. He did not want to talk further and hung up the phone.
On Wednesday the woman did not want to go through the details of her harrowing ordeal that took place on Sunday morning in a bush less than 1km from her house, saying she was still traumatised.
She and her husband began trauma counselling on Tuesday at Tshepisong Hospital.
“People have been coming to our house forcing my wife to relive her attack. Enough is enough now. We are all hurt here. How will telling you her story help her heal or result in the prosecution of her attackers? You will all go to your homes leaving us behind at the mercy of the zama-zamas,” the husband said.
The woman said police have already told them that the investigation could end up being a “cold case as it would be difficult to catch the perpetrators”.
“They said it's difficult to solve cases linked to illegal miners because they are scared of them as they are armed. Two officers came to my house on Monday asking me to point out the crime scene to them. I said I can drive with them but I’d only point it out while I’m in the car because I don’t want illegal miners to see me,” she said.
“They said that would not work and they would rather drop the case because there won’t be evidence to present in court. Honestly, I don’t care anymore. I just want to feel safe even though police cannot guarantee that to me. Pursuing this case only puts my family’s life at risk,” she said.
Orkney police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Hans Badenhorst said police had been to the crime scene to take photos which he could not produce.
He added that there has been a rise of crime near the No 3 shaft where the attack happened. “We mostly catch people in possession of stolen items such as copper which they had stripped from the shaft,” said Badenhorst.
Muzimuhle ward councillor Khaya Ndincede blamed Harmony Gold, which bought several mines in the area from AngloGold Ashanti, for not providing adequate security like its predecessor did.
Harmony Gold owns the James Motlatsi Hostel, which is now known for housing illegal miners and unlicensed shebeens.
“Zama-zamas have been causing havoc here and we have no control because police cannot give us protection. This is made worse because we no longer have private security from AngloGold. We have been calling for raids at the hostel and they are only doing it today (yesterday) after we made noise about that lady’s gang rape,” he said.
Harmony Gold official Sihle Maake confirmed the incident and called for the police to find the perpetrators.
“We are aware of the incident and our investigators have been working closely with the SAPS on the matter and can confirm that the incident did not take place at Harmony premises,” he said.