South African lawmakers have urged the government to accelerate the closure of abandoned mines in the country, which attract illegal miners, some of whom have been arrested for alleged gang rape.
The alleged rape has caused public outrage and put the spotlight on the problem of the abandoned mines and the illegal miners, many of whom are illegal immigrants.
South Africa’s mines, police and home affairs ministers on Thursday briefed the country’s upper house of parliament on the government’s response to illegal mining and other related crimes.
Police minister, Bheki Cele told lawmakers that the government believes international syndicates were behind the illegal miners and that a special investigations unit was investigating this.
However, police said they had arrested more than 130 illegal miners, most of whom were illegal immigrants, following the alleged rape incident in Krugersdorp, 40 kilometres (24.85 miles) west of Johannesburg on July 28.
Prosecutors said earlier that seven of them had appeared in a Johannesburg court charged with rape, sexual assault and robbery.
He said that seven more were due to appear in court.
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