The Hawks have arrested 48 illegal miners in various mining communities in the Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts in Limpopo. Those arrested include 38 undocumented foreign nationals.
During the arrests, the law enforcement agencies confiscated mining equipment, including heavy-duty vehicles. Residents of the affected communities have called on police to deploy more resources to clamp down on illegal miners.
Law enforcement agencies arrested Zama Zamas in the mining communities in Apel, Atok, and Northam in the Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts in Limpopo respectively.
The Zama Zamas use sophisticated mining equipment to extract chrome, platinum, and ore.
Despite the arrests, the illegal miners have discovered evasive ways to return to the shafts. Some community members, however, accuse the law enforcement agencies of working together with illegal mining syndicates.
They also say that illegal mining has a devastating impact on their environment.
“Those pits are very dangerous in the community because as I am speaking to you, unfortunately, I can’t reveal the names of the kids who drown in the pits, we have been engaging the police for a while and the Department of Mineral Resources but nothing is happening regarding the illegal mining. We suspect they are involved as well in the illegal mining activities,” says one of the residents.
The Hawks have arrested 48 illegal miners in various mining communities in the Sekhukhune and Waterberg districts in Limpopo:
Chairperson of Sekhukhune community mining forum, Elton Thobejane, says the illegal mining syndicates take advantage of the economic situation of the locals.
Hawks spokesperson Matimba Maluleke says they will conduct sting operations in affected areas to clamp down on the Zama Zamas.
“We conduct disruptive operations from time to time and we are assisted by our crime intelligence. We make sure there is high police visibility in those areas that are affected by illegal mining activities.”
Open shafts, where the Zama Zamas mine illegally, have become prevalent in the Sekhukhune District, affecting local residents. Community members at Apel village have called on the police to deploy more resources to put an end to illegal mining activities.
Last week the community of Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg protested against illegal miners and undocumented foreign nationals: