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By Cheryl Kahla

Content Strategist


Riverlea: Saps at scene where zama zamas reopen illegal mining holes

Police efforts in Riverlea intensify, Saps says. More than 100 arrests have been made since Tuesday.


In the aftermath of the protests in Riverlea on Monday, where residents barricaded Main Reef Road over illegal mining activities, the SA Police Service (Saps) say it is heightening its crackdown.

The protest initially broke out as residents’ anger over illegal mining operations from zama zamas reached boiling point this week.

Riverlea protest update

In response to the unrest, specialised police units have been deployed, assisted by the Saps Air Wing and the use of drones.

On Thursday, SAPS confirmed that underground activities by the zama zamas had been detected.

Saps said some of the illegal miners’ gold-bearing sand had been confiscated.

In addition, officials were at the scene in Riverlea, where zama zamas reopened illegal mining holes this week.

More updates to follow.

READ: ‘We are being disrespected by zama zamas’ – Gayton McKenzie

Riverlea: Illegal mining arrests

Meanwhile, Brigadier Brenda Muridili said police operations in Riverlea have led to the arrest of 79 suspects since Tuesday, 1 August 2023.

These arrests include 69 undocumented individuals – one for possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, one for possession of ammunition, five for possession of suspected stolen property, and three for common assault.

Seizures included an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, explosives, gas cylinders, gold-bearing sand, and alcohol from an illegal shebeen.

West Rand and Fochville operations

Simultaneously, police in the West Rand and Fochville conducted an intelligence-led takedown that resulted in the arrest of four suspects for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

An AK-47 rifle and four handguns were among the items seized. Saps said these operations would continue until Riverlea’s illegal mining activities have been stabilised.

Residents have been advised by spokesperson Lirandzu Themba that Police Minister Bheki Cele would return to Riverlea on Friday.

He will be updating the community at the Riverlea Recreation Centre and lead an engagement “to find lasting solutions”.

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