The head of the criminology department at the University of Limpopo, Professor Jaco Barkhuizen has attributed the scenes unfolding in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, to a lack of trust between the police and the communities.
Residents of Kagiso have taken to the streets, clamping down on illegal mining operations and destroying structures of some of the illegal miners.
Residents, who have accused police of failing them, have taken matters into their hands to hunt down and demolish illegal mining operations.
Barkhuizen says that the lack of trust is starting to creep into the entire criminal justice system.
“Obviously what we are seeing is the start of the failure of the criminal justice system. The community members have multiple times gone to the police with grievances and nothing happened. These feelings that the community [members] have are valid. Their feelings are not being addressed, and eventually, this is what will happen. We as South Africans should be really worried,” adds Barkhuizen.
The video below discusses illegal mining:
‘Bigger than just zama zamas’
Kagiso-based community organisation Choko Five Movement says illegal mining in the area is bigger than just the zama zamas.
On Thursday, locals demolished shacks and mines belonging to illegal miners. They also helped police arrest 23 people believed to be illegal immigrants.
Police are maintaining a strong presence in the area as part of an investigation into illegal mining in Gauteng, South Africa.
Choko Five Movement executive chairperson, Karabo Mosetlhi says, “The real zama zamas that we’re speaking about is these big companies that are refining this gold. So, what they would do is, they would take their big machineries, and go on-site with their excavators and then stockpile raw material where you will find the zama zamas that you saw on TV.”
Below is the full interview with Karabo Mosetlhi: