SAPS deploys specialised TRT, SIU and Task Force units in West Rand to flush out illegal miners

Picture: Danie van der Lith

Picture: Danie van der Lith

Published Aug 8, 2022


Pretoria - Police Minister Bheki Cele has told residents of the West Rand that the police will deploy specialised SAPS units to flush out illegal miners in the area.

This comes after residents from various townships in the west of Johannesburg embarked on protests and took it upon themselves to hunt down illegal miners whom they accuse of committing crime unabated.

Units including the specialised Special Task Force, the Tactical Response Team and the National Intervention Unit have been deployed to the area.

The angry residents set several homes alight and raided mine shafts in search of illegal miners.

This comes after the rape of eight women who were part of a crew shooting a music video by men believed to be zama-zamas last month.

Cele made his promise during a crime-combating imbizo in Kagiso on Sunday. He was joined by national police commissioner General Fannie Masemola, who echoed Cele’s sentiments.

“We will respond through action as the police, we will deploy the highly trained TRT, NIU and Special Task Force and K9 teams to make sure we flush out all undesirable elements in this area. Whoever comes with fire will be met with fire.

“We ask for space to conduct these operations and request the community to assist us, work closely with us and ensure we bring perpetrators to book through court processes,“ Masemola said.

Cele responded to allegations of police corruption, saying inadequate service delivery at stations will be probed at a provincial level and acted on.

Community members were also calling on SANDF members to be deployed as they had lost hope in the police.

“The request to bring in the army will be considered when the need arises. This process takes a long time. However, in the meantime, the police’s response to flush out these zama-zamas will continue and will be bolstered by reinforcement of these specialised units, who will be deployed here while government works on a broader plan to tackle the whole value chain of illicit mining and its benefactors,” said Cele.

More than 100 illegal miners have been arrested since the protests erupted in Kagiso last Thursday.