Kagiso residents in Gauteng’s West Rand have reiterated that they want the deployment of soldiers, to help curb illegal mining activities.
They say police cannot safeguard communities and abandoned mines. Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the community during a two-day imbizo following the gang rape of eight women last week allegedly by illegal miners.
Kagiso residents say the Zama Zamas are in possession of heavy weapons and they should be tackled with maximum force. They are calling for the deployment of soldiers to counter this threat.
“Police cannot be there every day. But the force can be there every day, that’s what we are asking for. Let there be defence force to camp there and guard these people not to do mining. Let there be soldier’s visibility so that this thing can be stopped,” said one member of the community.
Video| Day two of anti-crime imbizo in Kagiso:
Residents say they are not safe and Zama Zamas have free reign because of the general lawlessness in the country and inadequate policing in the area.
Another member of the community member says, “National Commissioner, it’s very sad of you to stand here and say we must not take the law into our own hands when there’s no law. You’ve left this place to be lawless. There is no law. The problem that we are facing right now is as a result of your negligence. You cannot claim that you did not know what was happening in those mines.”
One person has died and several suspected Zama Zamas have been handed over to police in recent days. This after the community went on a rampage burning property believed to be a hideout for Zama Zamas.
Cele has vowed to engage with other government departments to help address this burgeoning problem. “Home affairs, help us, these Zama Zamas have extra evil including human trafficking. Some of these young people here don’t even know their names. They are hungry and 14 year olds,” Cele added.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura says South Africa’s security and its infrastructure is at risk and immediate action is needed.
Video| Lirandzu Themba weighs in on the illegal mining in Gauteng:
Police ministry on illegal miners
The Police Ministry is confident that the SAPS have the capabilities to deal with illegal miners who are terrorising communities on Gauteng’s West Rand.
This follows the gang rape of eight women allegedly by Zama Zama’s. The community is calling for the deployment of SANDF members.
However, Police Minister Bheki Cele is adamant that they will manage on their own and that they will be conducting raids in the area soon.
Video| Crime Combating Imbizo taking place in Kagiso in Gauteng’s West Rand: