WATCH | Riverlea community want army to deal with zama zama problem
To combat the problem of zama zama’s terrorising communities, the government needs to deploy the army and take charge of the borders, say protesting residents of Riverlea, Johannesburg.
The protest was sparked by the discovery of bodies of suspected illegal foreign miners in the area. Five men were shot dead with police linking the killings to a shoot-out between two rival groups of illegal miners.
David Twala, a resident of Riverlea told TimesLIVE video journalist, Thabo Tshabalala that their plea to the government is intervention through the deployment of the army.
“We don’t trust the police. At Krugersdorp, they [zama zamas] are still operating [after the protests, after women were allegedly raped and shot at]. What we’re doing now is not something that will end the problem, what we need is the deployment of soldiers and they sort this out.
“It’s the only way forward, our last hope. They managed to shut down the country during Covid, this won’t fail them. Illegal mining is unwanted and highly bad. There are people who sold their houses and moved from the area because of the illegal mining activities. We can’t do this any more,” said Twala
Another resident, Njabulo Sikota said the community is under attack from the zama zamas.
“People are afraid to go to work and children to school, we have to accompany them in the morning. We are not fighting anyone, we closed the road so the president can listen to our frustrations, and people are dying.
“They will end up coming into our yards and there’s nothing we will do. We grew up in this community and it wasn’t like this. They don’t respect anyone, they are in the streets shooting at each other,” said Sikota.
Gauteng police spokesperson Lt-Col Mavela Masondo confirmed officers from the tactical response team and public order policing have been deployed to monitor Riverlea and the nearby Zamimpilo informal settlement.
Videos emerged on Monday morning showing traffic disruption in the area when residents blocked the main road with rocks and burning tyres.
Resident Thanduxolo Ntengento said they are tired of illegal miners in the area.
“At about 6pm they start to fight each other, we hear gunshots behind our houses. We are afraid that we could catch stray bullets, it happens every day.
“No-one is safe. We think protesting might work for us, we have been complaining from the start. The police do nothing, they tell us to stay indoors because the zama zama’s have big machines. They must just wake up and raid the area. The open borders is the problem, they come and go as they please.
“We are in trouble with the foreigners, they want to take over our country.” said Ntengento.
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