In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.
MORE than five scavengers are raped and scores are robbed every week outside the privately owned FG waste disposal site in Glen Austin in Olifantsfontein.
Sowetan learnt this after the newspaper published a story about two scavengers who were stabbed during a robbery outside the dump site.
Kaizer Khambule died at the scene and Vusi Khuphe is recovering in hospital.
More than 100 scavengers, both men and women, work at the site everyday. They spend about 11 hours at the site having arrived at 7am and then leave at 6pm. The majority live in informal settlements around Kaalfontein and Tembisa, about 3km from the site.
Private companies and government departments dump waste at the site. The scavengers then go through the waste and pick recyclable items like boxes, bottles, tins and metal. They are paid on the weight of the items.
Salome Molamo (not her real name) says she witnessed three of her friends being raped in the bush near the site last month.
"It was the most horrible day of my life. I left the site with my friends at 5pm. While we were walking home a man approached us and ordered us to stop. He had his right hand in his jacket and told us that he had a gun and he would shoot us if we refused to obey him.
"He led us deep into the bush where he demanded money and cellphones, " Molamo said.
Molamo said when they told him that they were not paid and had no cellphones he ordered them to lie down on their stomachs with heads facing down.
"He started assaulting and raping my friends one after the other. We were all too scared to fight him because we knew that most of our group had left and there would be no one to help us.
"When it was my turn he said he was too tired to rape me because the other three were giving him a hard time.
"He then told us to go and warned us that he would do it again. He said next time he would bring his friends with him, if we reported him," Molamo sobbed.
She said despite the rape incident, she still had to go to the dump site because she had to feed her children.
"My husband died last year and I am now the breadwinner. I have no choice but to walk past the same bush everyday because I have to feed my three children.
"Since that day my friends have stopped coming to work. I am afraid that he would come after me if I reported him," Molamo said.
A team leader for the scavengers, who did not want to be named, said they are aware of the criminal activities that happen outside the dump site.
"We encourage the scavengers to walk home in groups and to report criminal activities committed against them to the police.
"We took it upon ourselves to ask the police to patrol the bush on a daily basis but these incidents happen immediately after police have left.
"We are concerned about their safety and we hope that in future we can have a police van patrolling the area the whole day," he said.
Police spokesperson captain Manyadza Ralidzhivha said they patrol the area occasionally.
"We are going to keep a close eye on the area because we are now aware of the danger around it. We would like to encourage people to report any criminal activities that happen around the area," he said.
Efforts to speak to the owners of the site were unsuccessful. Sowetan's calls were transferred from one manager to another with no one willing to comment.