The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety says it will be writing to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi to consider the deployment of soldiers in the province “to end the scourge of illegal mining.”
The move comes after the discovery of five bodies – suspected to be so called illegal miners – were found shot in Riverlea over the weekend, in what is reported to have been a gun battle incident between the miners.
In a statement, the committee said illegal mining is causing “escalating lawlessness and mayhem” in the province.
“The Committee views illegal mining as a form of economic sabotage beyond just tax evasion, but also illicit financial flows with a devastating negative effect on the already struggling South African economy. It is also critical to establish the alleged involvement of mining companies in illegal mining and their contribution to bringing an end to this.
“The Committee further calls upon the Department of Mineral Resources to assist in holding Mining companies that previously owned these mines legally obligated and accountable in taking full responsibility of rehabilitating them,” the statement read.
The committee further indicated that it will be calling leaders in the province before it to explain what measures are being explored to curb these mining activities.
“The Committee has therefore resolved to call on the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, together with the Provincial Police Commissioner, to appear before it and give an account on what measures are being put in place to end illegal mining in the province.
“These measures must have clear action plans and timelines, as the people of Gauteng can no longer afford to live in fear due to the so-called Zama Zamas who are in their majority illegal foreign nationals.
“The safety of citizens should be a priority and we cannot allow lawlessness to continue unabated,” the statement read.