Kagiso residents warned: ‘Zama zamas are heavily armed and better trained’
Mogale City Mayor Tyrone Gray: “It places the community at an incredibly dangerous point.”
Scenes from Kagiso in Mogale City as residents protest against illegal mining in the area. Photo: The Citizen/Michel Bega
Mogale City Mayor Tyrone Gray has warned the residents of Kagiso, in the West Rand, against taking the law into their hands.
This after hundreds of angry residents, organising themselves into different groups, took to the streets on Thursday morning to apprehend alleged zama zamas (illegal miners) in the area.
Gray cautioned residents against physically removing the illegal miners from mine dumps and informal settlements, saying it was well known the zama zamas were heavily armed and could turn against the community.
“I don’t want the community to take matters like this into their hands, it leads to elements of vigilantism, and the zama zamas are often heavily armed and better trained in that environment.
“It places the community at an incredibly dangerous point,” Gray told eNCA.
ALSO READ: One person dies during Kagiso shutdown
Gray said the community should rather give the Mogale City Local Municipality and police tip-offs on illegal mining in the area, in order for the relevant authorities to conduct operations.
“Going forward we are going to mobilise more coordinated efforts and we humbly implore the community to do more patrols. And when they have a tip-off, they’re welcomed to send it to me or the relevant ward councillors, and we’ll have more planned operations.”
The mayor said the local municipality would meet with the community leaders to engage them on their protest.
@thecitizen_news LIVE NOW: Residents of #Kagiso #protest over illegal mining in the area. They have blockaded various streets, including Main Reef Road. Video: Michel Bega #thecitizen #zamazama #illegalmining #tiktoksouthafrica #fyp #foryourpage #fup #foryoupage #crime #southafrica ♬ original sound – The Citizen
One person dies
Earlier, one person died during the community’s violent protest against illegal mining and crime.
Gray said police were investigating the death, but could not confirm whether it was a community member or one of the illegal miners.
“There was a casualty and somebody lost their life. I cannot confirm whether it is a zama zama (illegal miner). The area has been cordoned off and it is currently a crime scene,” he said.
Kagiso residents blocked entrances and exit routes to the township in the morning, demanding the closure of old mine shafts that have been taken over by illegal miners.
The community accused illegal miners of being behind rampant crime in area, following the gang rape and robbery of eight women last week at a mine dump in West Village, Krugersdorp.