Avatar photo

By Kyle Zeeman

Deputy Digital Editor


Over 300 more soldiers called in to fight crime and zama zamas in the Free State

Ramaphosa last month deployed 3,300 SANDF members nationally.


395 members of the SA National Defence Force will be sent to the Free State to help fight the scourge of illegal mining and crime in the province.

The Free State has been overrun with illegal miners, or zama zamas, with authorities and communities battling to stop operations and the crime that often follows. The province also recorded an increase in murders in the last quarter, from July to September.

ALSO READ: ‘The fight against illegal mining is seeing results,’ says Ramaphosa

The military has been called in to help fight illegal mining activities across the country, and it was announced on Friday that additional help would be sent to the Free State.

395 additional members of the defence force will be deployed, along with ten more vehicles to two police stations around Welkom “to ensure police visibility in the area and strengthen the police capacity to combat crime in the province”.

The announcement was made during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Imbizo in Welkom.

The imbizo was held at Kopano Indoor Sports Center under the theme ‘Leave No One Behind’.

Residents attending the imbizo raised issues such as water and load shedding, poor road infrastructure, crime, lack of housing, unemployment, sewage, and cable theft.

Joining over 3,000 others

Ramaphosa last month deployed 3,300 SANDF members nationally for six months to fight crime and illegal mining. TimesLIVE reported the deployment cost the country almost R500m.

ALSO READ: ‘We are under siege’: Lesufi says SA needs army to solve zama zama problem

Writing in his weekly newsletter shortly after the deployment, Ramaphosa said police, state security, the Border Management Authority, and various governmental departments were working together to tackle illegal mining.

“Working together with business, unions and communities, we will not let up in our fight against the acts of sabotage that are undermining our country’s development,” Ramaphosa said.

According to government, there are about 6 100 unused, derelict, or abandoned mines in the country.

NOW READ: Government intends to close all derelict mines, says JCPS cluster on illegal mining

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits