Amplats reviews security after mine worker is raped

2015-03-10 16:43

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Anglo American Platinum has said that it would review security measures after two female mine workers were attacked at one of the company’s premises in Rustenburg.

The company confirmed that a female worker was “sexually assaulted by an outsider who gained access to the mine site illegally” at its Thembelani Shaft on Sunday morning.

Amplats said the intruder also tried to harm a second woman in the female change rooms.

The incidents came just three years after 35-year-old Pinky Mosiane was raped and brutally murdered while on duty underground at Khomanani Shaft – also owned by Amplats.

Just a few days before Mosiane’s assailant was arrested in October 2013, 20 months after she was killed, another female mineworker, Cynthia Setuke, was found murdered underground at Aquarius Mine’s Kwezi Shaft – also in the Rustenburg area.

Rustenburg police said a 28-year-old suspect was arrested on Sunday morning.

“It is alleged that the victim was taking a shower in the change room [when] the suspect gained entry through the door of the room – which was not working at that time,” said police spokesperson Sergeant Kealeboga Molale.

“The suspect raped the victim and fled the scene. The mine security managed to apprehend him and called the police to the scene.”

Another version in a statement released by the National Union of Mineworkers alleges that the “suspect entered the change room holding a screwdriver [and] forcefully ordered the woman to undress and threatened to kill her if she resisted”.

The union has already started asking questions about the circumstances leading to the alleged rape.

“We want to ask Anglo American Platinum why female change rooms are easily accessible to male counterparts. We are reliably informed that the suspect is not an employee of the company [and] we are asking Anglo Platinum again: how did the suspect get access to the mine premises?” said the union.

The union brought up Mosiane’s murder as well.

“We want to remind Anglo-American Platinum that we still haven’t forgotten the brutal rape and murder of Pinky Mosiane in 2012, whose body was found lying in a pool of blood with a used condom next to her.

“The union is worried that not much has been done to change the culture of aggressive masculinity that characterises the mining sector as a whole, and mine shafts in particular. Although women are now working underground in large numbers, nothing has been done to make mines safe so women can work free from sexual harassment and violence.”

The union said there was “no doubt that sexual abuse and gender-based violence in mines is still pervasive”.

Meanwhile, Amplats chief executive Chris Griffiths said the company was probing the incident.

“We are investigating how this incident could happen and in particular whether any security lapses occurred. We are committed to doing everything in our ability to make any necessary changes to our security measures to ensure that this, or something similar, does not happen again.”

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