(File image) Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Women should not lock themselves behind closed doors because they are afraid of men, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said on Sunday.

“We must come together and deal with the demon of crime in our communities in the same way that all South Africans stood up against apartheid,” she said.

She was speaking in Soweto at a multi-denominational prayer for peace, healing and moral regeneration.

The prayer was organised in the wake of an incident in which a 17-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped by a group of young men and filmed on a cellphone.

The video went viral on the Internet on Wednesday last week and was one of the main topics trending on Twitter.

After the incident, the girl went missing for three weeks. She was found in a 37-year-old man's Braamfischerville home.

He was arrested and appeared in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Friday facing charges of kidnapping and rape. It was alleged that he kept the teenager against her will.

His case was postponed to May 4 for further investigation.

Five other men and two youths matching the descriptions of the attackers in the cellphone video appeared in the same court on Thursday.

The case was postponed until April 25 for further investigation.

“Let us liberate our streets by reclaiming them from criminals. Women in Gauteng should not lock themselves behind closed doors because they are afraid of men,” Mokonyane said.

The premier also called on people to protect vulnerable members in their communities, citing people with disabilities, and to root out other societal problems such as the prevalence of drugs and alcohol use among young people.

Mokonyane also warned that people who were circulating the video of the incident were committing a crime.

“Those of you whose cellphones have this footage, please delete it,” she said. - Sapa