Police Minister, Bheki Cele, has conceded that more work needs to be done in shutting down illegal mine dumps.
The minister conducted a walk-about at the Zamimpilo Informal Settlement in Riverlea, where five bodies of suspected illegal miners were discovered on Sunday.
Cele has also revealed that the zama zama’s reopened the underground tunnels that they attempted to close in Riverlea.
“We have seen those places that have been temporarily closed, one of them has been re-opened, this tells us that we need to be more professional in closing those things.”
More than 100 people have been arrested in Riverlea over the past few days.
This as police have launched 24/7 operations to clamp down on the violence and illicit mining in the area.
Cele has also confirmed that the security cluster will meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa tomorrow on the issue.
“I can reveal that tomorrow at 11, we are seeing the president, who has called the security cluster to make sure that this isn’t a once-off.”
Minister Cele says they cannot allow communities to continue living in fear.
The police minister held a community engagement in Riverlea and Langlaagte today.
[LONG TERM] While addressing communities affected by #IllegalMining Cele says @SAPoliceService are making arrests and creating a stable environment so that Dept of Minerals can PERMANENTLY seal off disused mines where #IllegalMining is taking place. #Riverlea #ZamaZamas pic.twitter.com/uT9kd7kPvB
— Lirandzu Themba (@LirandzuThemba) August 4, 2023
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.
WATCH: "Zama-Zamas tell Bheki Cele to bring soldiers, police are too weak for them"
This is what our country has been reduced to.
The National Commissioner said in a statement that SAPS do not have enough resources to deal with the zama zamas. pic.twitter.com/mttThy2m6F
— PATRICIA MASHALE (@PATRICIAMASHAL3) August 2, 2023
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza