Extreme methods needed to deal with the zama zama crisis, says Joburg MCC for Community Safety

todayAugust 2, 2023 31

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Joburg MCC for Community safety, Dr Mgcini Tshwaku, has conceded that they have not done enough to deal with illegal mining in the country and says more action is urgently needed.

Tshwaku on Wednesday visited Riverlea, where five bodies of suspected zama zamas were recently found.

He says while different methods have been introduced, through working with the SAPS and JMPD, these syndicates move around frequently.

He says one of the things they have noticed is that when turf wars break out, the gangs involved will just travel to different areas and shoot at random.

Tshwaku believes they might have to use unconventional methods to deal with the scourge, but says their hands are tied.


Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has meanwhile confirmed the arrests of more than 20 suspected illegal miners suspected of being linked to the illegal syndicate in the area.

Police also seized mining equipment, including gas bottles and gold-bearing dust.

Protests erupted in the area on Monday after the discovery of five bodies, which the police have since linked the killings to a shoot-out between two rival groups of illegal miners.

Such incidents have become a common feature in areas where the zama-zamas operate.

And while fearful community members in Riverlea maintain that there are not enough boots on the ground, Cele insists that officers have been deployed.

As the back and forth between community members and the police continues, a video of alleged zama-zamas daring the police, calling them weak, has emerged on social media.

The men, who speak Sesotho, are seen carrying high caliber weapons in the videos, calling on police to enter their territory.

The SAPS are yet to respond to this.

Meanwhile, the United Democratic Movement (UDM) believes the deployment of the army will assist in dealing with the illegal mining headache.

UDM Secretary General, Yongama Zigebe, has also slammed Cele, accusing him of being reactive.


Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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