Woman raped in Amplats mine changing room

2015-03-10 16:26

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Johannesburg - A woman was raped at an Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) mine in Rustenburg, North West, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Tuesday.

"It is alleged that a woman was raped in a female change room at the mine," said Rustenburg NUM regional secretary Sydwell Dokolwana.

He said the woman was raped at Thembelani mine, on Sunday.

"Apparently a suspect entered the change room holding a screwdriver. He forcefully ordered the woman to undress and threatened to kill her if she resisted," he said.

North West police confirmed a case of rape, and said a 28-year-old man had been arrested.

"It is alleged that the victim was taking a shower in the changing room. The suspect gained entry through the door of the room which was not working at that time," said spokesperson 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."

He was expected to appear in the Rustenburg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.

Dokolwana said they were told the man was not an Amplats employee, but wanted to know how he gained access to mine premises.

Amplats spokesperson Mpumi Sithole said the same intruder had tried to harm a second female employee.

"Preliminary investigations indicate that one female employee was allegedly sexually assaulted by an outsider who gained access to the mine site illegally, while the same intruder also attempted to harm a second female employee."

Trauma counselling

Both women were receiving trauma counselling and medical support provided by the company.

Amplats condemned violence against women in any shape or form.

"We are deeply saddened by and strongly condemn this violent criminal act. The safety of all of our employees is our number one priority. We are currently investigating how this incident could happen and, in particular, whether any security lapses occurred," CEO Chris Griffith said.

"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."

The company said it was working closely with the police and had launched an internal investigation.

Dokolwana said the NUM decided to fight for women to work underground at mines because the industry was untransformed and male-dominated.

But it was worried that not much had been done to change the culture of aggressive masculinity it said pervaded the mining sector as a whole.

Although women were now working underground in large numbers, he believed nothing had been done to make mines safe from sexual harassment and violence.

"There is no doubt that sexual abuse and gender-based violence in mines is still pervasive."

Read more on:    amplats  |  num  |  mahikeng  |  crime

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