Ramaphosa Holds High-Level Meeting to Address Gauteng’s Illegal Mining Crisis

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
2 Min Read

President Cyril Ramaphosa convened a crucial meeting with various ministerial departments on Saturday to address the escalating issue of illegal mining in Gauteng. The province has been grappling with rampant illegal mining activities, leading to heightened national concern and unrest among communities living near former mining towns.

Recent incidents, including a gas leak in Boksburg that claimed 17 lives and a turf war between rival zama zama gangs resulting in five deaths in Riverlea, have drawn urgent attention to the need for coordinated action to combat this menace.

During an illegal mining crime imbizo at the Riverlea Recreation Centre grounds on Friday, Police Minister Bheki Cele emphasized the necessity of an integrated approach involving law enforcement, Correctional Services, Home Affairs, and Social Development to effectively tackle the Zama Zama issue.

Minister Cele echoed President Ramaphosa’s frustration with piecemeal responses and called for a comprehensive effort from various responsible departments, including Mineral Resources and municipalities, to address the root causes of illegal mining and protect the environment.

Furthermore, Minister Cele has called for the cooperation of neighboring countries to support South Africa’s efforts in combating zama zamas. Recently, a specialized police task force was dispatched to Riverlea, an area plagued by illegal mining, which led to the detainment of 194 individuals suspected of engaging in such activities.

Most notably, around 170 of those arrested were undocumented foreigners, with a majority hailing from countries such as Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and other South African borders. The involvement of regional partners is seen as critical in curbing cross-border criminal activities related to illegal mining and enhancing security in the affected regions.


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