The Bench Marks Foundation says the government’s failure to implement the law and hold relevant people accountable is the major cause of crimes in mining communities.
Police Minister Bheki Cele attended a crime scene in Imbizo at West village in Krugersdorp, following a week of protests on the back of the gang rapes of eight women at an abandoned mine.
It’s alleged that illegal miners were behind the attacks, and community members and police have spent the past few days rounding up so-called zama zamas.
Mining analyst from Bench-Marks Foundation, David Van Wyk, says policing should have started when big mining companies abandoned 6 000 mines across the country.
“So basically, what we are observing here is class action in terms of a government that seems quite prepared to accept the crimes of the very rich but act very swifly against what is perceived to be the crimes of the very poor. We have 38 thousand small-scale miners in Gauteng alone. Is the government intending to lock up 38 thousand people? Where is it going to put people in prisons and so on. The reason we are in this situation is because the government has not applied its own laws as far as mining is concerned,” says Van Wyk.
Mining analyst: David van Wyk weighs in on illegal mining in SA
The Police Ministry will on Sunday morning launch a two-day imbizo with residents of West Village in Krugersdorp and Kagiso to address policing needs.
This after eight women were gang raped, allegedly by illegal miners, while shooting a music video last week. The community subsequently went on a rampage, torching property they believed was used by illegal miners.
National Police Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, and senior officials from Mineral Resources and Energy are expected to attend.
Police Ministry spokesperson, Lirhandzu Themba, says “In an effort to address illicit mining and crimes generated by the illegal operations, the Police Ministry and South African Police Service (SAPS) will this weekend engage communities living in the epicentre of illegal mining in Gauteng. The Crime Combating Izimbizo seeks to provide residents with a platform to discuss and engage with the SAPS on identified crimes afflicting the community and set up immediate and long-term policing interventions.“