Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina says tackling illegal mining in Gauteng’s East Rand remains a major challenge.

On Thursday, four women were shot dead and one wounded by unknown men at the N12 informal settlement in Benoni.

The motive for the attacks is not clear, but the women are related to the seven illegal miners whose bodies were found dumped near a mine in Benoni last weekend.

The women had gathered to mourn the death of the illegal miners when they were murdered.

In March last year, 14 bodies of illegal miners were also found in Benoni.

Masina says illegal mining is a very complex organized crime.

“You are dealing with people who are highly sophisticated, well-armed, and dangerous, they know where to run to those shafts and so on. It’s been going on for ages. It’s the competence of national government. As a city, we can only bring awareness to the communities.”