More than 80 people appeared before a South African court on Monday after the gang rape of eight women which caused immense shock in this country accustomed to violent crimes, without however being prosecuted for these specific facts.
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On Thursday, a gang of gunmen broke into the set of a music video and raped eight young women who were part of the cast, near Krugersdorp, a small town west of Johannesburg.
No one has yet been charged for the gang rape, but police blamed illegal immigrants working in the mines in the area - known locally as Zama Zama - and arrested 84 people in a raid.
Two other suspects were killed in a shootout with police and a third was injured, according to police sources.
On Monday, those detained began appearing in court, on the grounds that they entered the country illegally and possess stolen property.
National Police Chief Fannie Masemola said an investigation is underway to determine if the suspects were involved in the rape.
A small group of protesters gathered outside the court demanding justice, with placards reading "No bail for rapists", "Am I next?" or “My body is not a crime scene”, noted an AFP journalist.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa described these "horrible acts of brutality" as "an affront to the rights of women and young girls", believing that "rapists have no place in our society".
“What happened in Krugersdorp is simply a disgrace to the nation,” Police Minister Bheki Cele said at a press briefing, saying the victims would suffer “lifelong” scars. .
This drama fueled the pre-existing debate in South Africa over whether or not to introduce chemical castration for rapists.
It is also mounting pressure on the government, with critics saying law enforcement is ill-equipped to tackle crime in the country, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world and which has recently been hit by a series of deadly shootings.