7 in court for gang rape

A preliminary inquiry into how to deal with four minors accused of gang-rape was underway in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

“Prosecutors will decide whether they will be subjected to full prosecution or a diversion programme. Then we'll deal with bail application,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said at court.

Five of the seven males suspected of gang-raping a 17-year-old Soweto girl walk to the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court. File Photo: Chris Collingridge. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

“The preliminary inquiry is done in terms of the Child Justice Act.”

Seven people, including four minors, were arrested in Dobsonville, Soweto on April 17, after they were matched to the descriptions of the rapists seen in a cellphone video recording of a gang rape.

The video of the 17-year-old mentally ill girl being raped went “viral” on the internet on April 18, and was one of the main topics trending on social networking site Twitter.

Mhaga said investigations confirmed that one of the seven is 13-years-old, three of them are 17, one 18, and two 19.

A small group of protesters had gathered outside the court on Wednesday in support of the girl and her family. The girl's older sister was at court.

Mhaga said there were preliminary charges based on NPA prosecutors having seen the video.

“They will be facing several counts of rape, sexual assault, engaging sexual services of a minor for a reward, using a minor to create child pornography, committing a sexual act in the presence of a minor, committing a sexual act in the presence of an adult.

“They will also be facing charges that relate to the contravention of the Films and Publications Act, which is creating, possession and distributing child porn.”

At the first court appearance, Gauteng safety and security MEC Faith Mazibuko said the attackers had to be punished.

“We want to call on all men and women... As men let's use our brains to think, let's not use our trousers to think. If you use your trouser, your trouser will put you in jail.”

The court room was packed ahead of the bail hearing. – Sapa