Gauteng government calls for military deployment against illegal miners

Illegal mining activities are linked to the killing of five people in Riverlea on Saturday while 17 died due to a gas leak in Boksburg in July.

The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety says it will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to consider the deployment of soldiers in the province to ‘end the scourge of illegal mining in the province once and for all’.

This, after the discovery of five bodies – suspected to be illegal miners – were found shot in Riverlea over the weekend, following reports of a gun battle between illegal miners on Saturday night.

Furthermore, last month a gas leak linked to illegal mining activities led to the deaths of 17 people in the Boksburg area.

In a statement, the committee says illegal mining is causing ‘escalating lawlessness and mayhem’ in the province.

“The committee views illegal mining as a form of economic sabotage beyond only tax evasion, but also illicit financial flows with a devastating negative effect on the already struggling South African economy. It is also critical to establish the alleged involvement of mining companies in illegal mining and their contribution to bringing an end to this.

“The committee further calls upon the department of mineral resources to assist in holding mining companies that previously owned these mines legally obligated and accountable in taking full responsibility for rehabilitating them,” the statement reads.

According to the committee, it will also be calling leaders in the province to appear before it to explain what measures are being explored to curb the illegal scourge.

“The committee has therefore resolved to call on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, together with the provincial police commissioner, to appear before it and give an account of what measures are being put in place to end illegal mining in the province.

“These measures must have clear action plans and timelines, as the people of Gauteng can no longer afford to live in fear due to the so-called Zama Zamas who are in their majority illegal foreign nationals. The safety of citizens should be a priority and we cannot allow lawlessness to continue unabated,” the statement reads. –

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