By Annisa Essack
On Thursday, the Kagiso community acted against illegal gold miners operating near their community, but those who helped the Zama-Zama were not spared. Kagiso residents threw rocks at police in a stand-off on Randfontein Road, one of the major routes in the area that had been blocked off in a protest against illegal mining on Thursday morning. Colonel Athlende Mathe joined Radio Islam International to provide an update on the situation.
She confirmed that police had been deployed to the region immediately after the situation was brought to their attention.
She also said operations were running on the ground, led by the Deputy National Commissioner responsible for policing, Lieutenant-General Moksekedi, and the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela. They led the tactical operations teams into the holes where the illegal miners resided.
The Lieutenant-Generals, with senior management of the SAPS, met with the community leaders to find solutions to their concerns.
Mathe says that the SAP’s teams had managed to avert a dangerous situation as the community captured a group of Zama-Zama, or illegal miners, who were severely beaten. Twenty-nine miners were arrested; three had to be taken to hospital for medical care after sustaining serious injury. The others were held in police custody.
Residents, according to Mathe, say that they do not want the illegal miners in their community, and the SAPS have committed to work with them. They were also working with other stakeholders, including private security, to bring normalcy to the region and arrest and apprehend those involved in crime, especially the undocumented nationals in the area.
According to Mathe, the residents were pleased by the police’s response and were receptive to them, and the situation was under control but still tense.
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