A woman was raped at Nancefield Hostel during a violent protest in the area over electricity outages.
Residents of the hostel in Klipspruit, Soweto, barricaded Klipspruit Valley Road and pelted vehicles driving through the area just before midnight on Saturday, setting fire to five cars.
According to police, a woman was raped in the midst of the chaos.
Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said the 45-year old woman was travelling in a car with her sister and the sister’s boyfriend when their car was stopped by a group of about 15 suspects near the hostel.
“The victim was allegedly dragged by three suspects into an abandoned building inside the hostel precinct where all three suspects reportedly took turns raping the victim at gunpoint. The suspects fled the scene when a police vehicle approached the building,” said Peters.
She said a search was underway for the suspects while a team of investigators from Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units is working towards arresting the suspects.
In 2019, a woman was raped in the same area when hostel dwellers protested over electricity outages.
Hostel dwellers claimed they had not had electricity for two weeks and they were going through great hardship after numerous pleas to have their supply restored fell on deaf ears.
The incident came as tensions between hostel dwellers and informal settlers have been mounting for weeks.
Hostel dwellers were further accused of torching nine shacks at a neighbouring informal settlement on Friday where they accused residents of stealing copper cables which fed their area with electricity.
An angry mob of hostel dwellers allegedly marched to Chris Hani informal settlement in Kliptown on Friday where they confronted residents about their problems and laid the blame at their feet.
Molefi Ntshongane, a community leader at the informal settlement, told Sowetan that hostel dwellers confronted them two weeks ago and accused them of sheltering thieves who stole their copper cables.
“They said we need to point out those who are stealing their copper cables so that they can sort them out. They were very threatening. We told them that we don’t know anything about it but understand their concerns and then asked them if we could meet their ndunas to resolve this issue,” Ntshongane said.
He said they were caught unawares when a group of men descended on their settlement on Friday, who looted and burnt their shacks.
“I acknowledge that there are people in this community who steal and commit crime, but this was not the way things should have happened because innocent people are being affected,” he said.
A leader from the hostel who asked not to be named said the protest was nothing short of criminality as protesters went on the rampage and attacked innocent citizens.
“We haven’t had electricity for a few weeks. We are frustrated and that’s why some residents took to the streets. But what happened to people during the protest was not supposed to happen,” he said.
He said a small group of people caused the damage by hiding in the dark and throwing stones at passing vehicles and attacking people.