Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again appealed for the deployment of the SANDF and additional security forces to help the province fight the scourge of illegal miners, who are wreaking havoc in various communities.
GAUTENG Premier Panyaza Lesufi has once again appealed for the deployment of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and additional security forces to help the province fight the scourge of illegal miners, also known as zama zamas, wreaking havoc in different communities.
“I am very firm on that. Not only the army, but we need all law enforcement agencies’ fire-power, the capabilities of those law enforcement agencies. 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 said in an interview with Newzroom Afrika on Monday morning.
“Gauteng is 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? We need all the necessary fire-power that the country possesses. If that includes the army, I am one of the people to say they must be deployed,” he said.
The Gauteng premier said that, when deployed, the military should pursue the illegal miners who are underground in disused mines.
“They must go down there and flush those people, because we do not know them. You cannot use South African laws of apprehending them, making them to appear in court when you don’t even know how they arrived in our country. We must go down there, flush them out and let the last person stand and ensure that we have got prosperity and peace forever in our country,” he said.
The premier said because of the scourge of illegal miners and the crime linked to it, including the violent turf wars, some areas around Ekurhuleni are no-go areas for community members.
Last month, at least 17 people were killed at the Angelo informal settlement around Boksburg as a result of a toxic gas leak linked to the rampant illegal mining activities.
The horrific incident left 17 people, including children, dead and at least 11 community members in hospital.
It is understood that illegal miners got their hands on a nitrate oxide gas tank which they intended to use in their illegal mining activities. The poisonous gas was what allegedly killed the community members.
It was reported at the time that of the 17 people who perished in the tragedy, the majority were citizens of neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique residing in the informal settlement.