Africa-Press – South-Africa. Seven more men have been charged in connection with the rapes of eight women in West Village, Krugersdorp, last month.
The suspects are believed to be illegal miners who were based in and around West Village.
They appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
Fourteen men now stand accused of robbing and raping the women more than two weeks ago.
Seven suspects, who appeared in the same court on Wednesday, were the first to be charged in connection with the incident.
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Initially, all the accused only faced a charge of being in the country illegally in the country, but they now face multiple counts of rape, sexual assault and robbery with aggravated circumstances.
The suspects, who appeared on Thursday, told the court they would be applying for legal aid.
The court heard six of the suspects were from Lesotho and Mozambique, while the seventh was from South Africa.
They are aged between 23 and 48.
The court also heard their addresses were unknown and they were abandoning their bail applications.
The men were among more than 80 suspects who were arrested shortly after the eight women, who were part of a crew filming a music video in West Village, were robbed and raped by a group of armed men.
The incident sparked widespread outrage and led to residents across the West Rand protesting against illegal miners.
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Speaking outside court, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the State had established prospects of a successful prosecution against the 14 men.
Mjonondwane added one of the suspects, who appeared on Wednesday, was confirmed to be a minor. The court was initially told he was 15 years old.
She said following an age assessment, it was found he was 16.
“The investigating officer had to go to the hospital for that age assessment to be conducted, and the results came back, and he indeed is a minor, 16 years of age.
“He was then separated from the case that involves all the adult accused, and he will now be undergoing the preliminary enquiry, which is expected to happen tomorrow [Friday].”
Mjonondwane added the enquiry was expected to be attended by a magistrate, probation officer, legal representative, parents, if available, and a prosecutor to determine why the minor committed the alleged offence.
She said they could not rule out the possibility of more suspects being linked to the case.
“Investigations are progressing very well, and we will be guided by the direction the investigation takes.
“As the NPA, we had to oppose the media application to film [because] we are not yet done with conducting ID parades. There are still more victims to come to attend the ID parade.”
Mjonondwane added more than 70 other suspected illegal miners appeared in court on Wednesday on a charge of being in the country illegally.
“Some of them pleaded guilty already, and the next step that then follows is for the investigating officer to check into their criminal records.”
She confirmed 19 other minors also appeared in court and their cases were postponed to 16 August.