Krugersdorp Gang Rape: A Clarion Call To Address Criminal Impunity

GOOD statement by Brett Herron
GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament

03 August 2022

Ghastly events such as occurred in Krugersdorp last week, where eight women participating in a film shoot were attacked, gang-raped and robbed, are only possible in a society in which people don’t foresee consequences for breaking the law.

While over 80 suspects are back in court today, police have arrested dozens more when they were suddenly running around these areas – all already known to be frequented by illegal miners.

Across South Africa there are over 6,000 abandoned mines not only exposing people and the environment to significant harm, but promoting these illegal mining activities. A number of bodies of murder victims have been discovered in the illegal mining areas in Gauteng in recent years but few, if any cases, have led to arrests.

In this environment, these communities evidently don’t believe the law applies to them. And once again the country first had to be shocked by events like these before action is seen to be taken.

As it stands, none of the initial suspects have yet been linked to the rape cases based on DNA evidence. This at a time when police and laboratories are already buckling under pressure due to massive DNA backlogs that have been delaying justice for victims of violent crime.

The perpetrators of this particular attack were also said to be from neighbouring countries, illegally in the country, conducting illegal mining operations – with impunity. They have suffered no consequences for their illegal activities.

But where they come from doesn’t really matter because the overwhelming majority of perpetrators of gender-based violence in South Africa are South African men. Men, raised in a violent, patriarchal society and fed a steady diet of evidence of criminality, from gangsterism in their communities to corruption in high places, for which precious few of the crooks are ever arrested, and fewer still successfully prosecuted – as if the law doesn’t apply to them.

Fixing such a society requires more than policing, and more than government.

The State must fix its systems but it is also incumbent on the private sector and civil society to contribute to addressing the self-worth of people severely damaged by 350 years of colonialism and apartheid, followed by nearly three decades of unrequited hope and intensifying poverty and extreme inequality.

For people to value the state, and its rules, and become partners in building a cohesive society, and common purpose, they must feel valued, themselves.

If we are to significantly dent crime statistics we must address the appalling conditions in which many people live. We must provide the infrastructure, services and social work necessary to building self-esteem. We must create an environment conducive to the development of young people, to lifting the false ceilings of hopelessness, and to the creation of jobs. An environment in which all feel they have a stake.

Of course, that’s not going to happen overnight and, even when it does, it won’t resurrect the victims of femicide or erase the scars of the legions of our women who have already been brutalized.

The GOOD Party trusts that, largely due to the publicity the Krugersdorp case has generated, the multi-disciplinary team of investigators assigned to the case will ensure those responsible will be brought to book.

But what we really need, as part of healing our societal brokenness, is the same kind of action for all victims of femicide and gender-based violence.

South Africans, and in particular women, cannot continue to live in fear and devastation, while leaders run around in attempt to react to a never-ending list of crises and failures.

Media Enquiries:

Brett Herron, GOOD: Secretary-General & Member of Parliament
Cell: 0825183264

Janke Tolmay, GOOD: Media Manager
Cell: 0733671223