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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist


‘Showing flames’: JMPD engages in shootout with zama zamas

JMPD engaged in a shootout with zama zamas on Saturday, leading to one fatality and the recovery of arms and equipment.


Stormhill was a tense battleground today as a specialised unit of Joburg Metro Police (JMPD) conducted a large-scale operation against zama zamas and illegal mining activities.

Public Safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku and the Acting Chief of Police, Angie Mokasi also visited the location, sending a clear warning to illegal miners.

JMPD crackdown

The MMC and the specialised unit embarked on a tour of multiple areas where the zama zamas have been known to operate.

During his visit to Riverlea, Zamimpilo, New Canada, Fleurhof, Mathole, Durban Deep, and Jerusalem, Tshwaku announced a robust action plan.

Plan to curb illegal mining

Tshwaku said the plan involves short- and long-term solutions. The immediate focus includes zeroing in on hotspot areas to restore safety.

This includes having dedicated JMPD units on the ground every day to respond quickly and effectively.

Tshwaku stated his firm commitment to fighting crime, and he sent out a stern warning to the miners, stating their days are numbered.

Zama zamas shootout

During Saturday’s operation in Robertsville, one miner was fatally shot in a mineshaft believed to be their headquarters.

riverlea stormhill zama zamas shootout illegal mining
Photo: COJ People’s MMC Public Safety

JPMD said recovery was extensive:

  • Five firearms including a sniper rifle,
  • Substantial amount of ammunition,
  • explosives,
  • sacks of gold-bearing material,
  • various illegal mining equipment known as phendukas.

“We are not scared of you”, he said. “We are going to get inside these mines here and look for them.

READ: Saps in Riverlea where illegal mining holes have been reopened

Zama zamas are ‘cowards’

Tshwaku said the miners are “cowards” who ran away when they saw the officers.

He added: “They are very scared. We are not scared. We are going to shoot them. We going to show them who we are.

“Because you cannot show us guns and say you are not scared of law enforcement. JMPD is going to show you flames.”

Tshwaku said more raids are to follow.

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