Durban - Police are investigating cellphone video footage of a girl being gang-raped, allegedly after a recent matric ball at a Pietermaritzburg high school.
The apparent rape by five males - some seemed to be giggling and egging the others on - has horrified the provincial government.
Police warned on Wednesday that anyone caught with the footage - which has gone viral on social media - could be charged with possession of pornography.
Community Safety MEC Willies Mchunu expressed shock and disgust at the rape and video.
“The gung-ho attitude said to be displayed by those involved in this horrific act is an unfortunate act of criminality and the worst form of criminality and decline of humanity,” he said.
“It should be totally rejected and denounced in the strongest possible terms.”
Mchunu urged anyone with information on who might be responsible to contact police immediately.
“We owe it to the people of KwaZulu-Natal to ensure that these people, who behave worse than animals, are put behind bars and face the full might of the law.”
He said the government would be offering both emotional and psychological support to the victim, once she had been identified.
Department spokesman, Sipho Khumalo, said they were assisting police with investigations.
“We are analysing the video and working together with the SAPS to try to identify witnesses,” he said.
Khumalo said the incident happened a week ago. He did not have further details on where in Pietermaritzburg it happened.
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education, which is aware of the video, has requested that the name of the high school not be published to protect the identity of the victim, possible witnesses, as well as the perpetrators, if they are found to be under age.
The department confirmed it was reviewing the video to assist in identifying the victim and culprits.
The video, which the Daily News has seen, shows a girl who is at first surrounded by six males. Two of them are seen taking turns raping her on a bed before the girl is moved to the floor where she is raped by three others.
She is heard screaming while on the floor, pleading in Zulu to be left alone. Her assailants are seen giggling and encouraging each other to rape the girl.
It is alleged that the victim and rapists are pupils at the same Pietermaritzburg school, and that the video was recorded at an after-party following a recent matric ball.
However, the video is of poor quality, making it difficult to discern identifying features of any of them. There is also no date stamp and the location of the video appears to be a private home.
Education department spokesman, Sihle Mlotshwa, confirmed they were investigating the video with the help of the school and its governing body.
“This is a depraved act and we will do everything in our power to get to the bottom of this. Young people should not be engaging in such horrific acts,” he said.
The school governing body revealed that they were questioning pupils who attended the matric ball, as well as those who had not returned to school after the dance.
“If it is found that the victim and those responsible for this horrific act are in fact pupils at this school, it is our responsibility to ensure that those responsible are identified and punished and that the victim gets the necessary help and support she needs,” a governing body representative said.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said that anyone caught in possession of the video could be charged under the Child Pornography Act.
“The victim has not yet been identified as well as the culprits. Investigations are continuing, at this stage it is unknown where the alleged incident took place,” said Naicker.
He said the case was being investigated by the SAPS child protection and sexual offences unit in Pietermaritzburg.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Captain Darin Moodley at 079 500 0397.
Additional reporting by Sapa