Kagiso residents descend on illegal migrants, set fire to reeds, shack

04 August 2022 - 17:36
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Police have arrested suspected zama-zamas near Kagiso on the West Rand.
Image: Penwell Dlamini Police have arrested suspected zama-zamas near Kagiso on the West Rand.

Community members from Kagiso, near Krugersdorp on the West Rand, on Thursday took matters into their own hands to remove illegal miners operating at disused mines. 

Community members armed with an assortment of weapons set alight reeds near the mineshafts, hoping to corner and catch zama-zamas who they believed were hiding there.

The disgruntled locals also turned their focus on a shack which they alleged was housing zama-zamas and set it alight. They said the shack, which was illegally connected, had caused a breakdown of electricity supply. 

Several other shacks were also raided, all believed to belong to zama-zamas. In one shack, copper cables said to have been stolen were confiscated. 

Numerous shafts from the disused mine were also raided. 

The alleged illegal miners responded to the confrontation by setting fire to the reeds to keep away the community members. Some of their heavy-duty tools which they had abandoned on operating sites were confiscated. 

Several people were arrested, among them foreign nationals who appeared to be in the country illegally. At one point, illegal miners, allegedly from Mozambique, were caught and stripped naked by residents. The group was rescued by the police. 

Meanwhile, the police have called for calm. 

Gauteng deputy commissioner Lt-Gen Tebello Mosikili said the police were going underground to search for illegal miners. 

Members of the tactical response team were expected to be dispatched to the area this evening. 

Mosikili said the police needed the assistance of the community to curb the illegal operations in the area. 

By the afternoon, police were sorting through scores of sacks which had been abandoned by the zama-zamas, which were to be processed and sifted for gold particles. 

This is a developing story.


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