South Africa gang rape / Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Seven men linked to the sexual assault of a group of women at an abandoned mine near Johannesburg in South Africa have been officially charged with multiple counts of rape.

The men were among more than 60 suspects who appeared in court on immigration and firearm charges. They are believed to be illegal miners who dig for gold around disused mine shafts.

The women were filming a music video when the attack took place.

The case sparked violent protests in townships around the mines and anger nationwide.

Demonstrators also gathered outside the court ahead of the hearings.