Parliamentarians in bid to crackdown on illegal mining

Police conducting an operation in one of the sites in Johannesburg. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Police conducting an operation in one of the sites in Johannesburg. File Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 24, 2023


Members of the National Assembly’s portfolio committee on mineral resources and energy are visiting the North West and Gauteng in an attempt to fight illegal mining.

The visit by parliamentarians in the two provinces comes after the police have been trying to crackdown on illegal mining after five people were shot and killed in Riverlea, south of Johannesburg, over turf wars a few weeks ago.

Rival groups of zama zamas have left some of the communities in Gauteng terrified when they engage in street battles.

Recently, dozens of people from Jerulasema informal settlement in Florida slept at a local police station after gangs of zama zamas were involved in gun battles.

A few weeks before that the community of Riverlea was up in arms after zama zama rival gangs fought in their suburb, leaving five people dead.

This forced members of the police and other security agencies to launch a massive raid in the area.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said they had dispatched specialised units in the community.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy said it would close some of the open shafts and holes in Riverlea and other areas.

Members of the portfolio committee will be in the North West on Thursday to follow up on the recommendations they made last year.

The mineral resources and energy committee, home affairs and police committees were part of the visit last year where the department of minerals and energy promised it would demolish disused mines as part of measures to stop illegal mining.

The committee will be in Riverlea on Saturday following the recent shootout between zama zama groups over turf wars.

“On Sunday, the committee will be briefed by government departments on progress regarding various issues related to illegal mining, including an update on illegal mining in the whole of South Africa, a progress report on addressing the illegal mining value chain, an update on engagements with the Southern African Development Community, as well as progress on implementation of the National Assembly’s recommendation as listed in the joint oversight visit on illegal mining report.

“Departments that are expected to brief the committee are the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, the Department of Police, the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, and the National Treasury,” said chairperson of the minerals and energy committee Zet Luzipho.

These departments will have to give progress reports on what has been done since the oversight visit last year.

There was a huge outcry last year in July when zama zamas allegedly raped eight models who were doing a video shoot in Krugersdorp.

However, the illegal miners were later released by the court due to lack of evidence to prosecute them.