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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Krugersdorp incident a reminder that govt must do more to tackle GBV – Ramaphosa

National police commissioner Fannie Masemola and Police Minister Bheki Cele have set up teams to specifically deal with the issue of illegal mining and zama zamas.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to refrain from taking the law into their own hands in anger, saying a distinction needs to be made between a legitimate protest and criminality.

Addressing the Presidential Social Sector Summit on Friday, Ramaphosa said the violent protest, damage to public infrastructure and loss of life in areas such as Kagiso in the West Rand, Krugersdorp and Tembisa in Ekurhuleni were concerning.

“These incidents are of grave concern, but they also highlight many of the challenges that our country is facing. As we address these incidents, we need to distinguish between legitimate protest and criminality, because unless we distinguish between the two, we are going to lose what needs to be done and how it needs to be done,” said Ramaphosa.

“There are community concerns and grievances that need to be addressed – concerns that we should all have to prevent loss of life and destruction of property. We also saw mob justice being played out. Our people, because of their anger, going out to confront a number of people and they’re doing mob justice. We cannot, as South Africans, reach a level where we just resort to mob justice. We need to be dealing with the problems that we have, working together as communities, with our law enforcement agencies.

“We can all understand the public outrage in Kagiso that was sparked by the gang rape of eight young women last week and we all deeply and sincerely share in the pain of those young women, their families and the neighbouring communities.”

ALSO READ: Kagiso residents vow to continue search for zama zamas

Ramaphosa said the police were busy investigating the incident.

National police commissioner Fannie Masemola and Police Minister Bheki Cele have set up teams to specifically deal with the issue of illegal mining and zama zamas, added Ramaphosa.

“This will put this to an end and we will do it as effectively as possible.

“We must commend our police for apprehending suspected illegal miners and shutting down their operations. We must support them in the various things that they get involved in as police because quite often they also put themselves in the line of danger as they seek to protect our communities.

“Their efforts in catching those responsible for the heinous crime of gang raping young women is something we would like to ensure that as we give them the support, we encourage them to do more.”

ALSO READ: Kagiso residents warned: ‘Zama zamas are heavily armed and better trained.’

Ramaphosa, however, conceded that the Krugersdorp incident was a reminder to the government and society to do more to tackle gender-based violence.

“Over the last few years, as a result of cooperation between government and civil society, we have strengthened the response of the criminal justice system to such crimes.”

Government, represented by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, will convene an Imbizo with the community of Kagiso over the weekend to interrogate issues of illegal mining and crime.

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Cyril Ramaphosa Krugersdorp

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