‘We are under siege’: Lesufi says SA needs army to solve zama zama problem
Lesufi honed in on Gauteng's plight with zama zamas and demanded a response from authorities.
Panyaza Lesufi. File Picture: Refilwe Modise.
Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again called for the deployment of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and other law enforcement agencies to address the escalating crisis of illegal mining.
Lesufi on Monday said the province has been gripped by a wave of violence and lawlessness brought on by unauthorised miners. He stressed the need for a robust response from authorities.
“Gauteng is under siege. Under siege from people who are not citizens of this country, people that cannot be accounted for, people that are highly armed. And we expect that the problem can be resolved by police that patrol on a weekly basis?” he asked.
He said a concerted effort was needed from all available law enforcement agencies, including the military.
“Not only the army, but we need all law enforcement agencies’ firepower. If it is the army, the police, the metro police, or whoever has that mandate to ensure that we protect South Africans, they must do so,” Lesufi told Newzroom Afrika.
Lesufi said monitoring illegal mining activities was far beyond the scope of routine police patrols.
He said that the military, once deployed, should focus on targeting illegal miners who have taken refuge in abandoned mines.
Clampdown on zama zamas
Eight generators, 11 jackhammers and one water pump were recently seized in a raid by police on illegal mining operations in Limpopo.
In a separate incident on Friday in Boilhill, Mjindini Trust, Barberton, a brazen illegal miner was shot after he apparently threatened to shoot police officers who confronted him in a mine. The firearm in the suspect’s possession was later found to be an airgun.
A total of 24 undocumented individuals were arrested in an abandoned mine in the North West, last week.