NEWS

Zama zamas- shoot to kill, orders Malema


POLICE operations in Riverlea have led to the arrest of 79 people, mainly for being undocumented migrants.

Police spokesperson, Brigadier Brenda Muridili said operations would continue in the area until Riverlea’s illegal mining activities have been stabilised.

Over 20 suspected illegal miners were gunned down in an apparent turf war at the Zamimpilo Informal Settlement in Riverlea area at the weekend.

Police have since deployed the National Intervention Unit and the Public Order Policing to the area this week.

Another eight bodies were discovered on Wednesday after a mining tunnel collapsed near Kleinzee. More bodies of zama-zamas are feared trapped underground.

Meanwhile, EFF leader Julius Malema has called on specialised policing units to be allowed to deal with the zama-zama illegal mining crisis, imploring officers to shoot dead any illegal miners who want to resist arrest.

Malema was speaking during a press briefing at the party’s headquarters in the Joburg CBD on Wednesday.

The ANC has also called for the government to establish a specialised unit to fight illegal mining in Gauteng and other parts of the country.

ANC national spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri said the Security Cluster must tighten security measures to deal with illegal mining.

Malema said the SAPS had capable officers to take on the zama-zamas.

He was responding to comments by Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola, who said this week that police had limited resources to deal with illegal mining.

“Currently, we have problems with mines in the Emalahleni in Mpumalanga, that’s currently where we are. We are deploying in Riverlea, but we are also going to be reinforcing the whole of illicit mining from the West Rand all the way up to Ekurhuleni.

“We need to sacrifice some of our resources to go full-time on this problem of zama-zamas,” Masemola was quoted by Eyewitness News as saying.

“We have limited resources – the same people used in West Rand are currently in Mpumalanga. When the area has stabilised, we move the resources to where there are current problems and that you can see is not working for us,” he said.

Malema has implored police to deploy the Tactical Response (TRT), Counter Assault (CAT) and the Special Task Force units, saying the SAPS had capable specialised officers who would be able to take out the zama-zamas from their mining holes.

“Any zama-zama that tries to shoot SAPS, they must drop them dead, they must not negotiate with them.

“Anyone who knows the police are coming down, the police are going to announce they are coming down, and you still shoot, they must drop them dead, all of them,” Malema said.

Muridili said on Thursday that 79 suspects had been arrested since Tuesday, with 69 suspects arrested for being undocumented persons, one for possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition, the other one for possession of ammunition, five for possession of suspected stolen property and three for common assault.

“The police have also seized an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, explosives, gas cylinders, gold-bearing sand, alcohol from an illegal shebeen, among other things.

“The police in the West Rand, Fochville, on the other hand have, through an intelligence-led take down managed to arrest four Basotho Nationals for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition,” said Muridili.

She police seized AK-47 rifles, ammunition and four loaded handguns.

Muridili said police operations would continue until Riverlea’s illegal mining activities have been stabilised.

Image (The trouble-torn Riverlea. Dead bodies of zama-zamas were found this week as Police and private securities intensify fight against illegal miners).

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