Police ‘going to deploy’ specialized units to curb illegal mining in Krugersdorp


Police officers comb a mining area in Krugersdorp during a clampdown on illegal mining.

PHOTO: Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi

  • The specialized policing units will be sent to illegal mining-infested West Village in Krugersdorp.
  • Residents have pleaded for extra forces to deal with heavily-armed zama zamas terrorizing them.
  • The units are expected to get rid of illegal miners in the area.

Deputy national police commissioner Tebello Mosikili has promised to deploy specialized units to curb illegal mining in West Village, Krugersdorp.

Mosikili was responding to instructions from Police Minister Bheki Cele.

On Saturday, Cele held an imbizo in the area. Addressing the packed tent, he asked for the deployment of the Tactical Response Team, Special Intervention Unit, and the Special Task Force.

Residents complained to the minister about the hardships illegal miners have brought to the area. They claimed zama zamas wearing blankets were running amok, carrying pistols and rifles, raping, robbing and killing people. People said they had a daily curfew from 18:00.

Some called for the deployment of the army, which Cele said was unnecessary.

“When the minister has spoken, it requires one to step up, do what is required from the police. We have responded before. We are going to respond again. We assure the community that they will be safe. We will see where we will get extra resources to come and operate (here) as it was directed. We have committed with the Gauteng provincial commissioner to see where we will get extra resources as requested,” said Mosikili.

READ | ‘We are petrified,’ say residents of Krugersdorp village where 8 women were raped at music video shoot

“We will give Cele and the community what they expect from us in the next two weeks and beyond. We will give them peaceful nights,” said Mosikili.

Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, concurred with Mosikili that extra forces were needed in the province.

Mawela said:

We are going to deploy our units from Gauteng to West Village. I would love to see specialized officers on the ground. Peace and stability are our ultimate goals. We are going to win this war. Should ringleaders behind the illegal mining activities happen to be in Gauteng, we will arrest them. We are increasing our operations against illegal mining.

Background

The area came under the spotlight last week when a crew filming a music video was attacked by heavily-armed men, reportedly wearing blankets.

The men were alleged to be illegal miners. Eight of the women on set were gang-raped.

The horrific crime sparked outrage in the country, which led to more operations by the police and communities combing the place, including in neighboring Kagiso township.

Scores of illegal miners were caught by residents and handed to the police.


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