Police Minister Bheki Chele says DNA tests on the eight women who were recently raped at a West Rand dump will be prioritized.

He took part in a ministerial briefing at the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

The problem of illegal mining is back in the spotlight after eight women were gang-raped in a dump in Krugersdorp during the filming of a music video.

Police have been widely criticized for falling behind in DNA labs.

The backlog is in the thousands.

This has resulted in victims of gender-based crimes waiting at least two years for their cases to go to trial.

Eight women accused of rape appeared before the court:

But Chele told MPs that more than 12,000 cases had been prioritized, including the cases of eight women who were gang-raped in Krugersdorp.

“We agreed that they would be prioritized, including the cases of eight women were prioritized. We extended the contracts, deployed people [who were] removed from the system and all machines are working,” explains the minister.

Chele says this is not true, that the police are reactionary and that a specialist unit has been operating in the Free State since 2019.

The minister added that the police continue to work according to operational data.

“We rescued women who are kept underground as sex slaves. [We have] cuts supplies such as bread and canned goods. The police were underground, forcing the zama zamas (illegal miners) to move to other places,” Chele adds.

Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Montashe compared illegal mining to war.

“This is economic sabotage of our economy. That’s why we’ve always said it’s a war that requires a specialized unit to fight it as such,” Montashe says.

Fourteen of those detained at the mine appeared before the court.

In the video below, Minister Bheki Chele urges officials to diligently serve their communities:

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