Pretoria - Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana has condemned in the strongest possible terms the gang rape of a 17-year-old Soweto girl.
The rape incident was captured on video by one of the perpetrators.
"This despicable crime does not belong to our free and democratic society. In addition to the painful ordeal of rape she was forced to endure, she is now subjected to a second assault on her dignity.
"We must all spare a thought for this young girl who has been violated in such a cruel and inhuman way," the minister said.
She thanked the South African Police Service for ensuring that the alleged perpetrators are brought to book. Seven males between the ages of 14 and 20 were arrested on Tuesday in connection with the rape. Police say the girl was reported missing by her mother three weeks ago.
The police are still looking for the girl.
"We must now allow the law to run its course," said Xingwana.
The minister will monitor developments in the case and her office will work with the police and the girl's family to ensure justice for her.
Xingwana said she was confident that the justice system would impose the heaviest and harshest possible sentence against those found to have been responsible for this heinous crime.
"By so doing, our courts would be sending an unequivocal message that the abuse of women and children will not be tolerated. As a society, we must ensure that those who harm our children are made to face the full might of our criminal justice system," Xingwana said.