Police Line
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KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department on Wednesday condemned the rape of its three female security officers by heavily armed criminals who broke into the agency's offices in Merebank, Durban.

The incident took place on Monday when gunmen stormed the offices around 2:30 a.m. and took three male security officers hostage. The armed men then raped the three female officers at gunpoint in a separate room.

The attack happened on the same day President Cyril Ramaphosa urged South African men and boys to break the cycle of violence against women and children in line with the United Nations' campaign called "16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children."

The female officers have since been taken to the hospital for their medical examination. Police have also launched an investigation, as per the department.

Apart from raping the female officers, the perpetrators stole departmental tools used for road maintenance and other assets.

Sipho Hlomuka, member of the executive council (MEC) for Transport Community Safety and Liaison, immediately asked the community head, Siboniso Mbhele, to visit the site and talk to the female officers, as they must have been traumatized by the incident.

Mbhele assured on Wednesday that the department will improve the security of the offices and asked the police department to arrest the perpetrators swiftly.

"The cruelty by these criminals against female security officers is unacceptable. Crime against women must be condemned by all of us, more so during such the critical campaign of no violence against women and children," he said, according to SA News.

"We appeal to the police to activate a high-level investigating team and bring these heartless criminals to book. We are also addressing the security improvement in our premises to protect staff and our equipment," he added.

The department head urged the community to help the police by providing them with information about anyone selling the stolen departmental equipment so the criminals could get caught.

He also said the department has already arranged psycho-social services to help the affected staff members continue their duties.

eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which also includes Durban, has witnessed similar incidents in the past, with armed men attacking staff members to steal brush cutters and other equipment.

During an address delivered to the country on Monday, Ramaphosa recalled another incident in which a young male student stabbed his female partner, who was studying at the Peninsula University of Technology, on Nov. 12.